In 2013, The Washington Post covered the story of a federal poultry inspector in New York who died 5 years into his job when his lungs bled out. This tragic story caught the attention of federal investigators and the poultry industry, forcing them to look at the dangers that come with using toxic chemicals in order to remove contaminants from the processing line. Since then, the demand for chicken and turkey in the United States has only increased, leading to processing plants depending more heavily on these dangerous chemicals. While these chemicals do keep the food products safe, they must also be monitored in order to protect the people working to put food on our tables.
What do bacteria-killing chemicals do humans?
Given the current demand for poultry and other meat products, the use of chemicals like chlorine and peracetic acid is necessary for stopping bacterial outbreaks in processing plants. But while they wage war on contaminants, they have the potential to do the very same to the people working on processing lines. Given certain conditions, peracetic acid, chlorine, and other chemical agents can vaporize, making their way into the skin, eyes, and lungs. Once in the lungs, these chemicals can enter the bloodstream, wreaking havoc on internal organs. Cases of irritation of the eyes and skin, corrosion of mucous membranes, and severe damage to the upper respiratory tract have all been the result of exposure to chemicals in processing plants.
When do bacteria-killing chemicals become dangerous?
When proper conditions are maintained inside a processing facility, the use of chemicals doesn’t pose a significant danger to those working the line. Unfortunately, proper conditions are not always maintained. If relative humidity and room temperature gets too high peracetic acid, chlorine, and other chemicals can vaporize. This is when employees in the processing facility are in danger, as the vaporized chemicals find their way into the lungs and onto the skin.
Remote monitoring helps facility managers maintain proper conditions
Luckily, today’s technology enables facility managers to have a full understanding of the conditions within their space. ExactAire™ from Polygon monitors and records humidity levels and temperature wherever it is installed. This technology allows facility managers to make informed decisions regarding air ventilation and conditioning in order to maintain ideal temperatures within the facility, keeping their employees safe and production running smoothly. If your standard ventilation system isn’t keeping relative humidity at proper levels, Polygon can equip your facility with a dehumidification system to share the load. High relative humidity in a poultry processing facility means danger for the employees on the line.
Contact the Polygon team today and take the steps necessary to keep your facility running and your employees safe.