Auto body shops and garages often expose workers to toxic chemicals

Working with cars – an occupational risk?
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos

For those who love cars, repairing them sounds like a great job — but the occupational health risks can be substantial.

For one former mechanic turned musical activist, more than three decades of working in the auto repair business have opened his eyes to the dangers of chemicals.

Randy Bigness blames his cancer on his long-time exposure to chemicals such as benzene, a common ingredient in fuel, oils and other petroleum-based products.

He also developed chemical sensitivities and allergic reactions to substances such as dust.

The former mechanic has dedicated his life to music and to raising awareness about chemical dangers in his industry, talking to auto shop workers everywhere he goes.

Slow to recognize health effects

Working in his auto repair shop, Bigness thought he was simply tired and says he didn’t realize his immune system was compromised. Only after multiple health issues that wouldn’t respond to antibiotics and an extreme sinus infection did he allow the possibility of a more serious problem.

Tests revealed he suffered from chronic myelogeneous leukemia (CML), a cancer caused by a genetic mutation acquired later in life.

The former mechanic says he worked with benzene all the time when he had to clean parts, breathing in the fumes and getting splashed with the solvent. Benzene is one of the most widely used solvents in the United States.

According to OSHA, benzene is a carcinogen. “With exposures from less than five years to more than 30 years, individuals have developed, and died from, leukemia,” the OSHA website states.

“Long-term exposure may affect bone marrow and blood production. Short-term exposure to high levels of benzene can cause drowsiness, dizziness, unconsciousness, and death.”

Are you, or someone you know, a car enthusiast? Tell us what you think about these health hazards.

Source: Popono Record

Activated carbon air cleaners for benzene fumes

The AirRhino can accommodate
a 100 lb. activated carbon filter
to remove VOCs such as benzene.

Benzene vapors as well as diesel and fuel emissions and other volatile organic compounds found in auto repair shops and garages can be mitigated effectively with the right air filters.

Along with adequate ventilation and other protective measures, Electrocorp’s air cleaners for auto repair shops and garagesoffers deep-bed activated carbon filters to provide cleaner and healthier air.

The activated carbon removes those gaseous pollutants, odors and fumes in the ambient air that can affect the workers over time.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.

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