Occupational risk reduction by acetone substitution in particle board surface cleaning
The Lithuanian wood industry covers three main sectors: wood processing, paper industry, and furniture production. The wood processing sector also includes the production of particle board. Technological developments have led to more intensive use of various additives – chemicals. To avoid the risks related to the impact of chemicals on human health and the environment, companies must comply with legal requirements and seek to replace the hazardous chemicals used in their processes. Substances must be replaced with less hazardous or harmless alternatives. In order to find out whether the options chosen are better, an assessment of the alternatives must be carried out. The present study includes the assessment of sustainability, targeted risk assessment for exposure of workers to chemicals, consumers, and the environment, and work risk assessments. The analysis of chemical products used in the production of particle board has shown that they contain ingredients with toxic, carcinogenic, and other properties hazardous to human health and the environment, and should therefore be substituted. After analysing the market for chemicals used in the wooden furniture industry, four potential alternative products were identified to one of the hazardous mixtures, and then the alternatives were assessed in terms of human health and environmental risks. The most suitable alternative was LPZ/II. Benefits of the proposed alternative for the company consist in the elimination of the mixture containing acetone and reduction of the risk to workers.