Why are factories a concern?
Factories are facilities that use machines and equipment to make new products. They are also called plants or mills.
Factory activities include food processing, textile production, and oil refining. Factories produce bulk materials such as mineral products, metals, and chemicals. They manufacture consumer items such as appliances, clothing, electronics, furniture, leather, office supplies, and toys. They also make medical equipment, pulp and paper, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, plastics, rubber, tobacco, and wood products.
Many factories use chemicals that can cause short- or long-term human health effects. People can be exposed to these chemicals if they work at a factory or if a factory releases chemicals into the air, land, or water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency keeps track of more than 650 chemicals released by industries, including factories. For more information on chemicals and factories, and how to find out about local chemical releases, see the section below titled, "Are these chemicals in MY industry?"
Safety concerns at factories include injuries from machinery, equipment, electrocution, and falls. Factory workers can also be exposed to pollution from vehicles and off-road vehicles while on the job.
This description is based on the information found in the Web links listed with this topic.
Web Links from MedlinePlus (National Library of Medicine)
Haz-Map Occupational Health Info (National Library of Medicine)
Hazardous Substances Data Bank (National Library of Medicine)
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health home page (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
Right to Know Hazardous Substance Fact Sheets (New Jersey Department of Health)
TOXMAP: Environmental Health e-Maps (National Library of Medicine)
Traumatic Occupational Injuries (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
Worker Safety: Concrete Manufacturing (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) (PDF — 253 KB)
Workplace Safety and Health Topics (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
Chemicals in Industry
Are these chemicals in MY Industry?
Bisphenol A (BPA)
Perchloroethylene (PCE, PERC)
Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Last Updated: November 25, 2013