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Trade News Release
Feb. 21, 2008
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OSHA issues portland cement guidance document

WASHINGTON -- The U.S Department of Labors Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today released Preventing Skin Problems from Working with Portland Cement, a new guidance document created to educate employers and employees about effective ways to prevent skin-related injuries in the cement and cement-related industries.

"Those who work with portland cement are at risk of developing skin problems, and OSHA is committed to providing information that will help employers keep their employees safe from cement-related skin problems," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr.

Portland cement is a generic term used to describe a variety of building materials that have strong adhesive properties when mixed with water. Wet portland cement can damage the skin because it is caustic, abrasive, and absorbs moisture. It also contains trace amounts of hexavalent chromium, a toxin harmful to the skin. Portland cement is an ingredient in concrete, mortar, plaster, grout, stucco, and terrazzo.

The new guidance addresses ways to prevent or minimize skin problems through the proper selection and use of gloves, boots and other personal protective equipment, including: kneepads; proper skin care and work practices such as use of pH neutral or slightly acidic soaps; and ways of making cement products les