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Publishers Letter


Last month the American Council of Governmental Industrial Hygienists dropped its longtime attempt to link metalworking ?uids to strict new limits on exposures to mineral oil mists in the workplace. And much if not most of the credit for this small but important change in the U.S. regulatory environment for metalworking ?uids goes to the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association.

For years ACGIH, whose recommended threshold limit values, or TLVs, are relied on extensively by state and federal regulators, has sought to limit exposures to mineral oil in metalworking ?uid mists to 0.2 milligrams per cubic meter. No more. In a letter to ILMA last month, ACGIH wrote that its ongoing proposal for mineral oil mist does not apply to mineral oils in metalworking ?uids, because of the complex and highly variable composition of these ?uids.

TLVs protect human health, Gene White of Milacron Marketing told me. But applying the mineral oil TLV to metalworking ?uids was on the wrong track from the beginning.

ILMA has been providing scienti?c information to ACGIH for a number of years, White added, to show that coupling metalworking ?uids with the mineral oil TLV did not serve the public. We were relentless in our efforts.

This reinforces that you have to be careful legislating metalworking ?uids.

The occupational exposure issues associated with metalworking ?uids have little to do with the highly re?ned oils used, ILMA Executive Director Celeste Powers pointed out, but rather with contaminants that can be generated when the ?uids are in use. As a strongly preferred alternative to a single-number approach, ILMA and others support a systems approach to controlling exposures to such threats.

So the U.S. metalworking ?uid industry can enjoy a moment of satisfaction on the regulatory front.

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