Use of aqueous solution instead of solid pure substance
CASE 2: Sodium dichromate, a carcinogenic substance, is used in the manufacturing of styrene-divinylbenzene copolymer beads, which are intermediates in the production of ion exchange resins at Fombio Dowex plant. The sodium dichromate initially supplied and handled as solid pure substance has been replaced with aqueous solution received in bulk. This solution is stored in a storage tank and only handled in closed loop with the help of an automatic system to minimize the cycle opening. In this way, all the operations take place in closed system from storage to reaction, minimizing the opening of the cycle and workers exposure. The raw material is unloaded from tank truck only once every 3 years, under a detailed and controlled unloading procedure and the maintenance activities are performed under a strictly controlled condition discipline.
More solutions from Dow Group Italy: introduction and problem setting
Dow Group in Italy manufactures a wide range of chemical products. Some productions require the use of carcinogenic substances. The high and constant attention of the company towards the health of their workers and the environment has been the trigger to improve processes and operating procedures where these substances are involved.
The three following cases are examples of best practices to improve the processes (first case) or the handling of carcinogenic raw materials (second and third cases) in order to reduce the workers’ potential exposure:
- CASE 1: Use of 1,2 dichloroethane (EDC) in strictly controlled conditions
- CASE 2: Use of aqueous solution instead of solid pure substance (current case)
- CASE 3: Dry Disconnect Couplers used for unloading hazardous material from road bulks and minibulks / IBC containers
The full implementation of these best practices has had an important impact on the sites where they have been applied. All of them, despite the fact that the problems were different and the solutions, obviously, different, had a common result: the effective reduction of the workers exposure to carcinogenic substances. The first case is an example of a complex good practice that also improves the production process and the use of raw materials. The second good practice allowed eliminating the handling of a solid carcinogenic substance ad inserts work in a closed cycle. The third case is an interesting good practice to reduce the exposure and that can be easily adopted in handling hazardous materials in general.