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PWB Industry Environmental Problems and Needs

9.1 General

Several questions in the PWB survey form were aimed at identifying environmental problems and needs experienced by the respondents. The resultant data are summarized and discussed in this section.

9.2 Environmental and Occupational Health Challenges

Survey recipients were given a check list of potential environmental and occupational health challenges that their company may face and asked to indicate all applicable items. The results are summarized in Exhibit 9-1. Respondents selected the increasing cost of compliance as the most pressing environmental or occupational health challenge facing their business (69%). Other challenges that were identified by one-third or more of the respondents include: changing environmental regulations (57%); consistently meeting effluent discharge limits (42.1%); and reducing worker exposure to chemicals (39.4%). Eliminating solvent use was identified as a challenge by 28.9% of the respondents. Other less frequently cited challenges were inconsistent enforcement of regulations (18.4%), hazardous waste transportation liabilities (13.2%), meeting air emission standards (13.2%), and lack of hazardous waste disposal sites (2.6%).

Environmental and
Occupational Health Challenges
% of PWB Survey
Respondents Citing Challenge
% of Plating Survey
Respondents Citing Challenge
Increasing cost of compliance 68.4 72.4
Frequently changing regulations 52.6 54.5
Consistently meeting effluent discharge limits 42.1 38.2
Reducing worker exposure to chemicals 39.4 --
Eliminating solvent use 28.9 23.8
Inconsistent enforcement of regulations 18.4 --
Meeting air emission standards 13.2 23.2
Hazardous waste transportation liabilities 13.2 --
Lack of hazardous waste disposal sites 2.6 17.9
Worker and management acceptance1 2.6 --
Paper work1 2.6 --
Amount of analytical work1 2.6 --
1 Added by respondent under "other." This item may have been more frequently selected if listed in the survey form.
-- Indicates that item was not listed in the survey form and not added by any respondents.
Exhibit 9-1. PWB Industry Environmental and Occupational Health Challenges

The results of the plating shop survey (ref. 1) for a similar question are also presented in Exhibit 9-1. The platers were given fewer choices, which may have increased the frequency of selection for individual challenges. However, the ordering of the three most frequently cited challenges for the plating survey were identical to those of the PWB survey.

9.3 Information Needs

Survey recipients were given a list of potential information needs to help identify specific areas of information needs for this industry. The results are presented in Exhibit 9-2. Only chemical recycling was cited by a majority (54%) of respondents as being a subject for which they desired more information. Other subject areas that were cited by one-third or more of the respondents include: water recycling (44.7%); fully or semi-additive processing (39.5%); and tin-lead plating alternatives (36.8%).

Items for Which Available
Information is Insufficient
Percentage of PWB Survey
Respondents Citing Information Need
Chemical Recycling 50.0
Water Recycling 44.7
Fully or Semi-Additive Processing 39.5
Tin-Lead Plating Alternatives 36.8
Smear Removal Alternatives 28.9
Certified Courses for Pollution Prevention 28.9
Electroless Copper Alternatives 21.1
Direct Imaging 10.5
Air Quality Issues1 2.6
Low Cost Water and Chemical Recycling1 2.6
1 Added by respondent under "other." This item may have been more frequently selected if listed in the survey form.
Exhibit 9-2. PWB Industry Information Needs

9.4 Source of Technical Information

Survey recipients were given lists of potential technical information sources and media that may be used to distribute information from this project and were asked to indicate the pathways and media that they presently use. The results are presented in Exhibits 9-3 and 9-4. All of the information sources listed were identified as being frequently used by at least one-fourth of the respondents. In-house engineers (78.9%) and vendors (73.7%) were the most common sources of technical information for PWB shops, followed by in-house chemists (55.3%), professional journals (52.6%), literature from trade organizations (47.3%), other shops (42.1%), books (42.1%), other in-house employees (39.5%), conferences (34.2%), and consultants (34.2%).

Source of Information % of PWB Survey
Respondents Citing Source
% of Plating Survey
Respondents Citing Source
In-house Engineer 78.9 20.0
Vendor 73.7 63.6
In-house Chemist 55.3 22.6
Professional Journals 52.6 66.1
Literature from Trade Organizations 47.3 --
Books 42.1 51.1
Other Shops, Competitors 42.1 --
Other In-house Employees 39.5 4.4
Conferences 34.2 53.6
Consultant 26.3 51.4

- Indicates that item was not listed in the survey form and not added by any respondents.
Exhibit 9-3. PWB Industry Sources of Technical Information


The results of the plating shop survey (ref. 1) for a similar question are also presented in Exhibit 9-3. The platers were given fewer choices, which may have increased the frequency of selection for individual information sources. Platers less frequently cited in-house sources, with a particularly low percentage for in-house engineers (20.0%). This result may be due to the lack of engineers at the plating shops that participated in the survey (only 5% of the respondents indicated that they have an engineering department). Platers may also tend to rely less on other in-house resources such as chemists and miscellaneous employees than do PWB shops. Platers did list consultants, journals, and conferences with relatively higher frequency than did the PWB shops. Both types of shops appear to rely heavily on vendors for technical information.

In terms of presentation media, the PWB shops overwhelmingly selected the printed report as their choice of media (see Exhibit 9-4). Plating shops similarly selected the printed report. One noticeable difference between the two surveys is the high frequency of selection by the platers for workshops and conferences. This may be due to the fact that this industry has held an annual joint environmental conference with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency for the past 16 years.

Media Type % of PWB Survey
Respondents Citing Media Type
Ranking by Plating Survey
Respondents Citing Media Type
Printed Report 89.4 1
On-Disk System for Personal Computer 36.8 3
On-Line System Accessible With Personal Computer and Modem 13.2 4
CD-ROM for Personal Computer 13.2 --
Workshop or Conference 10.5 2

- Indicates that item was not listed in the survey form and not added by any respondents.

Exhibit 9-4. Desired Media for Presentation of Survey Results


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