Rubber Industry OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY PHYSICAL HAZARD RUBBER INDUSTRY Rubber Workers: You Face Risks to Your Health There are a variety of health hazards faced by rubber workers. Depending on the specific chemicals rubber workers are exposed to, the health hazards range from skin diseases (dermatitis) to lung diseases to cancer. Cancer Here are various types of cancer that rubber workers have faced at rates from 1.4 to 6 times the rate for the general population: stomach cancer intestinal cancer pancreatic cancer lung cancer prostate cancer bladder cancer skin cancer brain cancer lymphatic cancer leukemia How Do You Get Cancer? In the rubber industry, workers can be at risk of getting cancer from a variety of the chemicals, it has to get into your body somehow. For chemicals to get into your body, you may: inhale it swallow it take it in through your skin Some of the Chemicals You May Be Exposed To: accelerators bonding agents > amines > resorcinol > guanadines > aldehydes > thiazoles > dithiocarbamates > thiurams antioxidants fillers > PAN, PBN > carbon black > 4,4- diaminodiphenylmethane activators retarders > zinc oxide > nitrosamines > magnesium oxide > lead oxide > calcium oxide antitack agents solvents > zinc sterate > aliphatic hydrocarbons: pentane, hexane, heptane > talc > aromatic hydrocarbons: benzene, toluene, xylene How Do We Protect Ourselves From This Chemical Soup? Exercise your right to know. The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) requires: proper labeling of containers of chemicals Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) which provide more information worker education and training developed in consultation with the health and safety committee Control at the Source Change the Chemical. Benzene, for example, a solvent known to cause cancer has been replaced in the rubber industry by less hazardous solvents such as toluene. Change the Form of the Chemical. As a general rule, the more solid the chemical, the less change it has to enter your body. Isolate the Chemical. Enclose the process so that you are not exposed. Control Along the Path - Ventilation Local Exhaust Ventilation. Put a fan or hood near the source of the airborne contaminant so that the contaminant cannot enter your breathing zone. Ensure the draw of the ventilation is enough to capture all of the chemical. General Ventilation. Although general ventilation through the use of ceiling fans and such can be helpful in making the workplace more comfortable, it is not effective enough for hazardous chemicals. Control at the Worker - Personal Protective Equipment Personal protective equipment, such as respirators, for protection from exposures should not have to be used routinely. The emphasis should always be on controlling health hazards at the source by the use of ventilation systems. If there are unusual circumstances such as spills, for example, workers should be fitted with respirators such as air-supplied respirators or cartridge-type respirators, depending on the hazard. As well, gloves and other protective clothing which do not allow the chemical to pass through to your skin must be used.