HHE Report No. HHE-79-80-81-746, at Cobe Laboratories, Inc., Lakewood and Arvada, Colorado.
Environmental and personal samples were analyzed for isopropyl- alcohol (67630), cyclohexanone (108941), tetrahydrofuran (109999) (THF), toluene (108883), methyl-ethyl-ketone (78933) (MEK), ethylene- oxide (75218), Freon-12 (75718), toluene-diisocyanate (26471625) (TDI), methylene-chloride (75092), ethylene-dichloride (107062), perchloro-ethylene (127184), and methylene-bisphenyl-isocyanate (101688) (MDI) at Cobe Laboratories, Incorporated (SIC-3840) in Lakewood and Arvada, Colorado, from August 13 to 15, 1979. Medical questionnaires were administered to 140 workers. The evaluation was requested by individual employees on behalf of an unspecified number of affected workers. Measured concentrations of isopropyl-alcohol, cyclohexanone, THF, toluene, MEK, ethylene-oxide, and Freon-12 were all below OSHA recommended permissible exposure limits. TDI and MDI were undetectable. Environmental samples collected for methylene- chloride revealed concentrations ranging from 15 to 187 parts per million (ppm) compared with the OSHA recommended standard of 500ppm. Ethylene-dichloride concentrations ranged form 1.5 to 3.2ppm, well below the OSHA standard of 50ppm. Perchloroethylene concentrations ranged from 7 to 29ppm, compared to the OSHA standard of 100ppm. Assembly line workers reported respiratory difficulties, but no significant incidence of eye or skin irritation, tumors, anemia, or neurologic problems was noted. The authors conclude that a potential health hazard exists from exposures to methylene-chloride, ethylene-dichloride, and possibly perchloro-ethylene. Recommendations include employee training, ventilation improvements, and medical monitoring of exposed workers.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, Cincinnati, Ohio, 21 pages, 10 references