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FOG & HAZE Health & Safety Considerations Janet Sellery, CRSP.

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Presentation on theme: "FOG & HAZE Health & Safety Considerations Janet Sellery, CRSP."— Presentation transcript:

1 FOG & HAZE Health & Safety Considerations Janet Sellery, CRSP

2 Introduction Directors and designers love to use fog and haze effects People exposed to fog and haze have experienced health effects

3 Session Outline Studies on health effects Levels of Exposure Fog and haze H & S issues Due diligence Risk assessment and controls Education and communication Accommodation Resources

4 Supplier ad: “ Theatrical fog machines create fog by vaporizing a special, safe and non-toxic water-based fluid”

5 Is it safe? “Safe” - adjective 1 protected from danger or risk. 2 not causing or leading to harm or injury. Source: Compact Oxford English Dictionary

6 Is It Non-Toxic? “ Non-toxic” is not meaningful and can be misleading. No definition or standard is used for judging a consumer product or its ingredients No assurance that such a claim has been independently verified. A product that does not meet the definition of “toxic” according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (US) should not necessarily be considered non-toxic Source:

7 Background Concerns about fog products go back to the late 1980s Monona Rossol, Arts Crafts & Theatre Safety, published “Theatre Fogs and Smokes: A Report on their Hazards” in 1990 American Equity reported on a study conducted by NIOSH in 1991 ESTA has become actively involved through their Fog Working Group, technical standards and fog testing program

8 Study #1 – Health Effects Evaluation of Theatrical Smoke, Haze and Pyrotechnics 2000 – Mount Sinai School of Medicine and ENVIRON, sponsored by American Equity Association Study conducted in 1997 – adult performers 16 Broadway musicals

9 Study #1 – Health Effects Evaluation of Theatrical Smoke, Haze and Pyrotechnics Study included: ◦ Epidemiologic assessment – collection of data from Actors regarding symptoms they reported experiencing and background info (questionnaires, daily checklists, medical

10 Study #2 – Health Effects Evaluation of Theatrical Smoke, Haze and Pyrotechnics Study included: ◦ Exposure assessment – potential exposures were estimated by collecting:  Personal breathing zone samples  General air samples  Various locations in the theatres  Both live performance and rehearsal settings ◦ Results were combined in developing conclusions re. exposures and health effects

11 Study #1 – Health Effects Evaluation of Theatrical Smoke, Haze and Pyrotechnics Findings: ◦ No evidence of serious health effects was found to be associated with exposure to any of the theatrical effects evaluated in this study ◦ Peak exposures following a release of glycol smoke are associated with increased reporting of respiratory, throat, and nasal symptoms

12 Study #1 – Health Effects Evaluation of Theatrical Smoke, Haze and Pyrotechnics Findings: ◦ Elevated exposures to mineral oil haze are associated with increased reporting of throat symptoms. ◦ Other factors in increased symptom reporting – perceived levels of stress (at work and away from work), performance schedule, and the physical demand of the role(s)

13 Study #1– Health Effects Evaluation of Theatrical Smoke, Haze and Pyrotechnics Findings ◦ Observed association between increased signs and symptoms of respiratory irritant effects and exposure to elevated levels of glycols and mineral oil Recommendations for actors in musicals ◦ Glycols – not to exceed 40 mg/m ³ ◦ Mineral Oil – not to exceed 25 mg/m ³ (Time weighted average below 5 mg/ m ³)

14 Study #1– Health Effects Evaluation of Theatrical Smoke, Haze and Pyrotechnics Recommendations for actors in musicals ◦ As long s peak exposures are avoided, health, vocal abilities and careers of Actors should not be harmed.

15 Study #2 - Atmospheric Effects in the Entertainment Industry 2003 UBC School of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, requested by SHAPE Study included: ◦ Survey of special effects technicians ◦ Analysis of chemicals used ◦ Simple monitoring method for se in the industry ◦ Levels of exposure ◦ Health effects

16 Study #2 - Atmospheric Effects in the Entertainment Industry Findings ◦ Fog aerosols were small enough to enter the smallest airways and air sacs of the lungs ◦ Mineral oil exposure exceeded the proposed ACGIH TLV ◦ Exposure was higher for employees  working close to the fog machine,  spending more time in the visible fog  on productions with more fog machines in use, regardless of the type of production or fog chemicals being used

17 Study #2 - Atmospheric Effects in the Entertainment Industry Health Effects ◦ Respiratory health of 101 persons was compared to a control group from BC Ferries ◦ Entertainment industry employees had:  Lower than average lung function test results  More chronic respiratory symptoms and current asthma symptoms

18 Study #2 - Atmospheric Effects in the Entertainment Industry Findings ◦ Acute changes on testing day:  Increased nose, throat and voice symptoms  Glycol fogs – more common dry cough, dry throat, headache, dizziness, tiredness  Mineral oil fogs – measureable drop in lung function (over approx 4 hours)

19 Study #2 - Atmospheric Effects in the Entertainment Industry Recommendations: ◦ Exposure control plans for mineral oil ◦ Exposure minimization plans for glycol fluids ◦ Exposure reduction strategies (See the ActSafe Bulletin)

20 “Anything other than clean,moist air can hurt your vocal cords” Brent Rossington, SHAPE

21 Levels of Exposure Regulation 833 Control of Exposure to Biological or Chemical Agents ANSI E – Theatrical Fog Made With Aqueous Solutions of Di- and Trihydric Solutions American Equity Association - Theatrical Smoke, Fog, and Haze Testing Time and Distance Guidelines (2007)

22 Health & Safety Issues Particulates Dryness Humidity Allergies Asphyxiation Toxic Byproducts

23 Particulates Whenever you introduce particulates, some people may experience irritation, especially those with respiratory problems Minor irritation, which might go unnoticed by most people, may affect vocal performance and may leave performers more susceptible to colds and infections

24 Dryness When you use glycol products and dry ice, the air will become drier and some people may experience sore throats People who wear contact lenses may experience dry eyes

25 Humidity Whenever you use low lying fog (ex. Dry ice carried by CO2), humidity will increase and there is potential for slippery floors

26 Allergies Almost any substance may be capable of causing an allergy While most people will not develop allergies, there is no reliable way to predict who will be affected

27 Asphyxiation When oxygen is displaced (dry ice), there is potential for asphyxiation

28 Toxic Byproducts Incompatible fluids and machines, or machines with malfunctioning temperature controls may allow combustion. Toxic byproducts may be created.

29 San Francisco Opera As of 2002, 23 out of 44 chorus members reportedly suffered respiratory problems, throat irritation and other ailments that they blame on theatrical fog At least one singer filed a workers compensation claims and complained to OSHA; another filed a lawsuit,

30 San Francisco Opera The San Francisco Opera says it dropped glycol fog more than a year ago because of Pamela Dale's complaints and because stage designers want different effects. They have instead used mineral oil, liquid nitrogen or dry ice, or combinations of those. Dale says the mineral oil fog also irritates her throat. Performers are allowed to opt out of any opera that uses fog but still be paid

31 San Francisco Opera Some audience members have also claimed to have had reactions "When somebody sees a smoke or fog like this, it's a psychological problem," says Jim Kehrer, head of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Texas. "If you see some sort of fog or smoke rolling at you, and you already have a breathing problem, it's going to get worse."

32 San Francisco Opera Dale says that opera houses should be more creative with lighting and rely more on the audience's imagination instead of fog. But "they'll stop using it when someone like Luciano Pavarotti gets a reaction to stage fog," says lawyer Steven Weiss, whose client Will Roy, an opera singer, received an undisclosed settlement from the Cleveland Opera after claiming he suffered an allergic reaction in Source: Kelly Yamanouchi, AP Writer, Backstage, Jan. 2001

33 “Beauty and the Beast”, Broadway In 1995, nearly a third of the 25 members of the pit orchestra …complained of asthma-like effects, according to Bill Moriarity, president of American Federation of Musicians Local 802. Source: Kelly Yamanouchi, AP Writer, Backstage, Jan. 2001

34 Sometimes fog is a bad idea… Insect fogger using an unknown product, sitting in a foil roasting pan because it leaked so badly Fog blasted up from a trap into the face of an actor who developed persistent bronchitis Fog that filled a quick change area causing asthma in a wardrobe attendant, who had to wear a respirator (WSIB claim)

35 “We were designed to breathe air” Monona Rossol Arts, Crafts and Theater Safety

36 So how do we work with fog? There are no safe ways to work with fog There are safer ways to work with fog No one can promise that fog will not have health effects for some people.

37 Due Diligence An important legal and cultural component of a H & S management system The level of: ◦ Care ◦ Prudence ◦ Determination ◦ Activity that a person would reasonably be expected to exercise under a situation’s particular circumstances

38 Due Diligence Under sections 25 (2) (h) and 27 (2) (c) of the OHSA, employers and supervisors must “take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker”. This is known as the general duty or due diligence clause.

39 Due Diligence Seems subjective May be measured using the reasonable person test: ◦ What dozen peers would consider reasonable under a similar set of circumstances ◦ The result is a balanced, wise and defendable judgment

40 Due Diligence Safer ways to work with fog require: ◦ Risk assessment and control ◦ Education and communication ◦ Accommodation for people who have problems with fog

41 Risk Assessment and Control The foundation of OSH – a powerful tool for dealing with unique issues Depending on the jurisdiction, it is either explicit or implied In some jurisdictions (including Alberta), employers must perform and formally document regular hazard assessments at their worksites

42 Identifying and Assessing Hazards Hazard – any condition or circumstance that has the potential to cause injury or illness

43 Eliminating and Controlling Hazards Whenever possible, hazards should be eliminated If this is not possible, they must be controlled Control means reducing the hazard to levels that present a minimal risk to worker health Controls, in order of preference, include: ◦ Engineering controls ◦ Administrative controls ◦ Personal protective equipment (PPE)

44 Engineering Controls First and preferred choice They physically control hazards Example: ◦ Substitution of a less toxic product

45 Administrative Controls Second choice Examples: ◦ Safe work practice and procedures ◦ Worker training ◦ Scheduling and supervision ◦ Purchasing decisions ◦ Preventative maintenance programs ◦ Signage

46 Personal Protective Equipment Last resort of hazard control Should be used only after engineering and administrative controls have been shown to be impractical, ineffective or insufficient Used to lessen the potential harmful effects of exposure to a known hazard Examples: ◦ Respirators

47 Control of Hazards Each workplace must find controls that are specific to that workplace Workers must be protected from harmful exposures to hazardous substances For best results, choose the most effective place to apply controls: ◦ At the source (first choice) ◦ Along the path ◦ At the worker (last choice)

48 Risk Assessment Who will be exposed? ◦ Actors, musicians ◦ Stage management, crew, wardrobe attendants ◦ Patrons ◦ Children, seniors * ◦ People with health issues * * These populations have not been studied.

49 Risk Assessment Review the Risk Assessment chart for Fog and Haze Effects

50 Education and Communication

51 Equipment Select appropriate equipment and learn how to use it to create the effects you want Read and follow manufacturer/supplier instructions Contact the manufacturer/supplier for additional info

52 Fog Products Workers using fog should have WHMIS Every product should have a complete and accurate MSDS – READ IT! Do not use a product if ingredients are not listed or if it is “home made” with no MSDS NOTE: The MSDS may not reflect the intended use of the product – blowing it into the air and inhaling it

53 Fog Products Prior to the Cue to Cue rehearsal, each Technical Director is responsible for posting the MSDSs (Material Safety Data Sheets) for fog and smoke products to be used for each production for the acting company and production staff. Copies shall also be given to the Stage Manager

54 Accommodation If there is a change in the atmospheric conditions of the theatre (ventilation, heat, air conditioning and humidity) during the run, the Stage Manager may request changes to the levels or durations of effects in order to maintain the look of the production.

55 Accommodation If a member of the acting company or production staff experiences adverse health effects due to fog or smoke, they must report their concerns to the Stage Manager or Technical Director. The Stage Manager, in consultation with the Technical Director, may request changes to the levels or durations of effects for up to two performances.

56 Accommodation Beyond two performances, changes to fog and smoke may only be made with the approval of the Director of Production and the Producer. Respirators equipped with appropriate filter cartridges should be used where circumstances warrant.

57 Resources Ontario Ministry of Labour ActSafe - formerly SHAPE (BC) Actors Equity Association (US) ESTA (US) Australian Entertainment Industry Association

58 Next Steps… Conduct testing to assess real levels of exposure – ESTA Fog Testing Program Investigate safer options such as potable water under high pressure (used in “O”) Develop healthy and safe practices to ensure long, productive careers. Be curious and ask questions.

59 Opera America Newsline, Jan “Smoke makes the air a palpable presence. You can see the light moving…it’s a way of making the beams register… Management is beginning to understand that there may be a problem, and consider that they may have a moral responsibility not to endanger singers and crew.” (John Conklin, designer and director of productions at Glimmerglass Opera and New York City Opera)

60 Opera America Newsline, Jan Until any conclusive scientific findings become available, companies must consider a variety of variables, including an honest look at their own theatre ventilation systems and sensitivities of cast and crew. Current methods for creating a palpable atmosphere onstage may prove harmless, but until then, it’s best to proceed with informed caution.

61 Questions ???

62 Contact Info: Janet Sellery, CRSP


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