[abstract] LITHIUM HYDROXIDE: IS IT HAZARDOUS WHEN USED IN MANPOWERED CO2 SCRUBBING SYSTEMS?

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[abstract] LITHIUM HYDROXIDE: IS IT HAZARDOUS WHEN USED IN MANPOWERED CO2 SCRUBBING SYSTEMS?

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Title: [abstract] LITHIUM HYDROXIDE: IS IT HAZARDOUS WHEN USED IN MANPOWERED CO2 SCRUBBING SYSTEMS?
Author: Ryder, SJ; Francis, TJR; Wray, DD
Abstract: BACKGROUND: A major problem facing the crew of a disabled submarine (DISSUB) is preventing a build-up of carbon dioxide (CO2). USN submarines carry a large amount of anhydrous lithium hydroxide (LiOH) which is stored in canisters in granular form. In the absence of power it is currently advised that these canisters are opened and the LiOH spread over the available horizontal surfaces where it is continuously fanned and intermittently stirred. Other available, non-electrically powered, scrubbing techniques include a bellows system employed by the British, in which the integrity of the canisters and their filters are preserved and a French technique, in which the LiOH is emptied into nylon mesh "curtains" which are hung vertically and rely on convection currents to deliver CO2 to the absorbent. Of concern is the possibility that in opening the canisters, caustic LiOH dust is released which may pose a hazard to the survivors. METHOD: Using standard industrial hygiene techniques, the airborne dust levels of LiOH generated by each technique were measured in the breathing zone of an operator and remotely. 5.72 kg of anhydrous LiOH granules were used in each trial and, for each technique, three trials were undertaken using LiOH which had been stored in submarines for different periods: new; 5 years and 10 years. RESULTS: Statistically significantly greater amounts of dust were generated by the USN and French techniques than the British bellows (p less than 0.05). 66.7percent of the readings from the stirring and fanning technique and 83.3percent of those from the French curtain trials exceeded the exposure of limit of 0.25 mg.m-3 set by the Naval Environmental Health Center for use in this situation. All the readings from the bellows trials were below that limit. CONCLUSION: This study provides evidence that the dust generated when employing open scrubbing techniques poses a significant hazard to the survivors in a DISSUB.
Description: Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc. (http://www.uhms.org )
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/711
Date: 1998

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  • UHMS Meeting Abstracts
    This is a collection of the published abstracts from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) annual meetings.

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