Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences
The use of Podiatry services is increasing and the exposure to dust and noise in Podiatry facilities has not been well documented in the literature. Concern for exposure to dust and noise has been raised due to the amount of particles seen when grinding and sanding custom moulded shoe inserts. Shoe inserts are made from a range of materials including polypropylene, polyurethane foams, ethylene/acetate copolymers, vinyl acetate and aluminina trihydrate. Monitoring for PM2.5, PM10 and noise was undertaken in a teaching podiatry laboratory on two days to ascertain if they were at a level hazardous to health. In addition the ventilation system was assessed to determine if the capture velocities were sufficient to determine if the current ventilation system is sufficient to control the potential hazards. Because the laboratory is used by a variety of students during the day, static monitoring was undertaken in preference to personal sampling so that a broad range of exposures could be determined. The results of the dust monitoring shows that the levels of PM2.5 and PM10 were within levels considered adequate from a public health viewpoint although peaks did occur during the clean-up of the laboratory. Noise monitoring highlighted that although the average levels were acceptable there is concern that a number of machines have noise levels exceeding 80 dBA. The ventilation system was assessed from a qualitative (smoke tubes) and quantitative (velocity measurements) viewpoint, and because of the action of the spinning wheels and belt it was determined that they were not adequate.