HHE Report No. HETA-82-146-1388, Boeing Vertol Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Worker exposures to epoxy resins, curing agents, and other chemicals were investigated in April, June, July, and September, 1982, and May 1983 at Boeing Vertol Company (SIC-3728) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The evaluation was requested by Local 1069, United Auto Workers, on behalf of about 4600 workers concerned about skin problems and a potential cancer risk. Air samples were collected for dust, methylenedianiline (101779) (MDA), ethylenediamine (107153) (EDA), methyl-isobutyl-ketone (108101) (MBK), toluene (108883), cyclohexanone (108941), and butyl-glycidyl-ether (2426086) (BGE). Medical interviews were conducted with 20 exposed and 20 unexposed workers, and skin examinations were completed. A proportional mortality ratio study for cancer was also completed for workers who died between 1968 and 1980. Concentrations of BGE, dust, MBK, and toluene were below respective OSHA standards of 270, 15, 410, and 750 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3). No EDA or cyclohexanone was detected. MDA concentrations ranged up to Hygienists Threshold Limit Value of 0.8mg/m3. Twice as many exposed as unexposed workers reported skin problems such as redness, itching, and cracking. The problems were reportedly exacerbated by hot weather and continued use of epoxy materials. An excess rate of cancer of the bladder was identified for workers exposed to epoxy resins and amine hardeners. The authors conclude that exposures to epoxy resins and amine hardeners present a health risk for skin problems. MDA is a suspected carcinogen and may be responsible for the high incidence of bladder cancer. The authors recommend improved ventilation, use of protective clothing and equipment, and further evaluation of the MDA cancer association.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report No. HETA-82-146-1388, 28 pages, 13 references