Technical Assistance Report No. TA-80-095-1002, Caterpillar Tractor Corporation, York, Pennsylvania.
Environmental air samples were analyzed for ammonia (7664417), sulfur-dioxide (7446095), hydrogen-sulfide (7783064) hydrocarbons, and amines. Bulk samples of water based machine coolants were analyzed for contaminants at the Caterpillar Tractor Corporation (SIC-3714), in York, Pennsylvania, on January 15, 1981. A representative of the United Auto Workers, Local 786, requested the evaluation after employee reports of eye, nose, and throat irritation among about 80 percent of 220 machine operators. All air samples had no significant concentrations of air contaminants. Analysis of the bulk samples identified butyl-carbitol (112345), 2,6- di-t-butyl-p-cresol (128370), aliphatic hydrocarbons, toluene (108883), and xylene (1330207). Medical monitoring of affected employees for a 3 month period revealed few respiratory complaints due to exposure to the coolants. The authors conclude that no significant health hazard existed at this work site, and that the previously reported symptoms were probably due to chemical additives in the coolant systems and to irritants produced by microorganisms in the coolants. They note that the symptoms were substantially reduced as a result of increased ventilation, and recommend gradual addition of additives to the coolant systems, improvements in the procedures for using biocides, and other control measures.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio, 18 pages, 16 references