HHE Report No. HHE-79-011-1011, King Sooper's Meat Plant, Denver, Coloardo.
Environmental and personal air samples were analyzed for carbon- dioxide (124389) (CO2) hydrogen-chloride (7647010) (HCl), 2,6-ditert- butyl-cresol (128370) (BHT), dicyclohexylphthalate (84617) (DCHP), and various organic solvents, and a medical survey was conducted at King Sooper's Meat facility (SIC-2011) in Denver, Colorado, during November, 1978, August 1979, and November 1979. A representative of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters Union, Local 634, requested the evaluation on behalf of several workers with respiratory symptoms. C02 concentrations ranged from 2000 to 3000 parts per million (ppm); benzene (71432) nondetectable to 0.50 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/CuM); toluene (108883), nondetectable to 0.6mg/CuM; limonene (138863), nondectable to 1.6mg/CuM; xylene (1330207), nondetectable to 1.3mg/CuM; dicyclohexylphthalate, nondetectable to 0.42mg/CuM; 1,1,1-trichloroethane (71556), nondetectable to 1.5mg/CuM; and total hydrocarbons, nondetectable to 4.3mg/CuM; all below their respective NIOSH or OSHA standards. No HCL or BHT were detected. Symptoms of mucous membrane irritation and cough were reported throughout the plant, however, production workers reported significantly more work related nose and throat irritation, cough, chest tightness, wheezing, and chronic bronchitis than nonproduction workers. Symptomatic production workers who were smokers had significantly decreased forced expiratory volume in one second and maximum flow at 50 and 75 percent of the vital capacity, but when exposed workers as a whole were compared with nonexposed workers as a whole, no changes after exposed and no significant trends were observed. The authors conclude that causes of the reported symptoms remain unclear, although there may have been intermittent exposures in production areas to irritating emissions from overheated price labels. They recommend control measures to reduce emissions from the manual labelers, and medical precautions for workers with pulmonary problems.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio, 32 pages, 21 references