During the processing of plastics, or the manufacturing of plastic products, dust and fumes are released. Continued exposure to plastic fumes and dusts can be hazardous to health. The composition of plastics can vary, however any plastic dusts or fumes can cause irritation to the eyes, nose and lungs. There are also links between exposure to PVC and lung cancer. For this reason the HSE recommend that sufficient LEV, fume extraction systems be implemented to control these substances.
The workplace exposure limit (WEL) for unidentified dusts is 5 mg/m3. This is based on the average dust content in the air over and 8 hour period. Tests can be carried out to calculate an operators WEL, and is based on average exposure during the work period. If the WEL exceeds the maximum 5mg/m3 then improvements or additional control measures must be put in place.