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Tertiary amine compounds associated to vision disturbances among workers at a printing company.

American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 1-6, 2002, San Diego, California. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2002 Jun; :53
Background: In February 2001, NIOSH began a health hazard evaluation at a flexographic printing company to investigate work-related vision disturbances among workers to assess exposures to tertiary amine compounds, specifically dimethylisopropanolamine (DMIPA), dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE), and total amines. The plant's production area has two divisions, the line division (complaint area) and prime division (non-complaint area). Line workers reported vision disturbances at work that subsided a few hours after leaving the plant. Both divisions used inks that contained DMAE. Of the several ink additives used, one containing DMIPA was used almost exclusively in the line division. Methods: An air sampling method was developed by NIOSH that involved collecting DMIPA and DMAE on XAD- 7 resin sorbent tubes. Personal breathing-zone (PBZ) air sampling was performed that included 108 full- shift samples and 30 short-term (15 minute) PBZ samples. Samples were analyzed by gas chromatography equipped with a flame ionization detector. Eye exams were performed on workers before and after each work-shift. Results: For DMIPA, the mean TWA concentrations were higher in the line division than the prime division (7.7 vs. 2.1 mg/m3, respectively). For DMAE, however, the mean TWA concentrations were lower in the line versus prime division (2.3 vs. 3.Smgim3, respectively). The IS-minute samples for both divisions showed median TWA concentrations of 9.3 mgim3 for DMIPA, 3.7 mg/m3 for DMAE, and 12 mg/m3 for total amines. Conclusions: While the dominant amine exposure for workers was DMlPA, both DMAE and DMIPA were associated with blurry, halo, and blue-gray vision, corneal opacity, and decrements in visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. Although these conditions are reversible, they pose a safety hazard at work and when driving home.
Workers; Health-hazards; Workplace-monitoring; Workplace-studies; Amines; Air-sampling; Gas-chromatography; Exposure-levels; Eye-disorders; Eyesight; Vision-disorders
108-01-0; 108-16-7
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 1-6, 2002, San Diego, California