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HHE Report Nos. HETA-95-0331 and 95-0334-2626, Boston Harbor Tunnel Project, Winthrop, Massachusetts.

Authors
Sylvain-DC
Source
NIOSH 1997 Jan; :1-16
NIOSHTIC No.
00237084
Abstract
In response to a request from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Infectious Diseases, an investigation was begun into the incidence of respiratory problems among tunnel construction workers at Boston Harbor Tunnel Project (SIC-1622), Winthrop, Massachusetts. Requests were also received from OSHA, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, contractors and labor organizations. A review was conducted of medical records and a medical questionnaire was used to evaluate the nature and extent of respiratory illness among the tunnel workers. Environmental information was gathered to characterize the tunnels, tunnel ventilation systems, and microbiological reservoirs. Analysis of bulk samples for total colony counts and identification of bacteria and fungi revealed reservoirs of microbiological contamination; however, nothing revealed a relation to infectious illness or allergic type responses among the workers. Conditions in both tunnels were favorable for the growth of Gram negative and Gram positive bacteria. Medical records were incomplete and there was a poor response to questionnaires. The author concludes that the respiratory illnesses appeared to represent a spectrum of clinical disease with no identifiable common source or etiology. No workplace health hazard was associated with respiratory illness among the tunnel workers.
Keywords
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-95-0331-0334-2626; Hazard-Unconfirmed; Region-3; Tunnel-workers; Tunneling; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Respiratory-system-disorders; Microorganisms; Bacterial-infections; Epidemiology
Publication Date
19970101
Document Type
Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
Fiscal Year
1997
NTIS Accession No.
PB97-187348
NTIS Price
A03
Identifying No.
HETA-95-0331-0334-2626
NIOSH Division
DSHEFS
SIC Code
1622
Source Name
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report Nos. HETA-95-0331-2626 and HETA-95-0334-2626, 16 pages, 18 references
State
MA; OH
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