Keeping Extraction Safe
Cannabis extraction is a process that comes with warning labels and safety risks. The surge in cannabis industry entrepreneurs brings a host of newcomers on a regular basis and includes DIY members. Therefore, it benefits anyone working with the extraction process to stay abreast of environmental safety concerns and the regulations that are specifically outlined in the original manufactures documentation and the municipal building codes, etc. Exposure to CO2
Extraction opens cannabis extraction workers up to carbon dioxide poisoning. Precautions should be taken to keep potentially fatal invisible gas contained. Emergency relief valve piping should always be placed outside, and never indoors. Poisonous gas should be guided safely away from areas containing people and pets. In addition to proper ventilation, invest in OSHA regulated CO2 monitors. The immediately dangerous to Life Limit of 50,000 PPM follows well after once a warning sound when levels reach OSHA-recommended 5,000 PPM.
The extraction process involves liquids and gases which are often flammable. Without proper ventilation and venting, the potential for fire increases. Home-work areas and commercial facilities should be well scrutinized to lessen the chance of chemical fires.
For obvious reasons, it is important to limit the intake of harmful vapors exposed during extraction. Securing proper venting equipment and body protectants and accessories including face masks can help limit direct exposure.
Hearing loss should be a concern for those working in extraction facilities. The equipment used during extraction is loud and noise canceling earplugs are recommended.
Cannabis dust accumulates and poses a threat to the respiratory system. To avoid contamination, install point-of-source ventilation. NIOSH approved N95 disposable respirators can be required to reduce exposure.
Keeping an updated safety checklist, monitoring commercial facilities and home work areas for potential danger, and purchasing inexpensive but necessary safety items make for safer work procedures. Everyday items like face masks and goggles can keep accidents at bay.
Admittedly this list reads like a chemistry safety class. In fact, it is just that. The cannabis industry runs like other businesses and safety measures should be taken seriously. Carbon monoxide, fire, hearing loss, cannabis dust, and vapor exposure, all present potential safety hazards during cannabis extraction.