Odor in litho

Dick Crane rcrane at snf.stanford.edu
Wed Apr 7 16:21:45 PDT 2004

Odor in the litho area.

In the past week several people have noticed a strange odor in the litho
area. We have located the source of the odor and the Stanford
Environmental Health and Safety Department has determined that it is
safe although some people may develop a sensitivity to low level

The humidity control system in litho injects steam into the air when an
increase in humidity is needed. Normally the humidifier steam consists
of 95% cogen steam and 5% boiler steam. On March 22, the cogen plant
shutdown for major work and the humidifier steam changed to 100% boiler
steam. The water additives are different in the boiler system which
caused a different odor. The two additives, Optisperse and Cortrol
IS3000, are FDA approve for use in steam which in contact with food
products. According to the MSDS Optisperse does not contain any
components considered hazardous as defined by OSHA regulations. The
product Cortrol contains sodium bisulfite, an antioxidant that is also
used to prevent or reduce discoloration of fruits and vegetables,
prevent black spots on shrimp and lobster, and inhibit the growth of
microorganisms in fermented foods such as wine. This chemical is an
irritant to the eyes and mucous membranes and some people can develop a
sensitivity to low levels of exposure.

If you experience any irritation or discomfort you may wish to leave the
litho area. Historically steam injection occurs in the afternoon of warm
days (low outside humidity).  If you have
any questions feel free to contact either Russell Furr or Ling Sue Teng,
Manager Occupational Health & Safety at 650-723-0448.

The good news: The steam plant should be back up sometime this Saturday
evening, three days from now.

Even better news: After 20 years of steam injection, a new, DI water
based system is being installed. The new DI water source humidifier
should be on-line late May. This change should eliminate the odor issue.

I trust this explain the odor and actions taken.


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