Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-99-0185-2787, Wonder Industries, Wyoming, Minnesota.
On April 22, 1999, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a request for a health hazard evaluation (HHE) at the Wonder Industries facility in Wyoming, Minnesota. The confidential employee request expressed concern about the inadequate ventilation and possible generation of fumes from the various plastics used in the injection-molding processes in the facility. The employees reported symptoms of headaches, dizziness, sore throat, skin rashes, chronic ear problems, and shortness of breath. In response to this request, NIOSH investigators conducted an environmental investigation at the facility on November 17 and 18, 1999. NIOSH investigators collected five real-time, data-logged, area air samples for carbon monoxide (CO); five area air samples for aldehydes (formaldehyde and acetaldehyde); seven area air samples for hydrocarbons; and eight area thermal tube air samples for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In general, aldehydes (formaldehyde and acetaldehyde) were found around all injection-molding machines in operation throughout the facility. The formaldehyde area air sample concentrations were below the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) of 0.75 ppm and the NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) of 0.016 ppm. The acetaldehyde area air sample concentrations found were below the OSHA PEL of 200 ppm. However, for both formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, due to their potential carcinogenicity, NIOSH recommends that occupational exposures be limited to the lowest feasible concentration. All of the real-time, data-logging instruments indicated that CO concentrations were below relevant evaluation criteria. Various VOCs were detected in area air samples. Hydrocarbon area air samples resulted in low levels and were well below relevant evaluation criteria. The low concentrations of formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons measured in area air samples suggest that personal breathing-zone exposures should be below relevant evaluation criteria. However, NIOSH recommends a lowest feasible concentration for formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. Suggestions to improve the health and safety of employees in this facility are presented in the Recommendations section of this report.