Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2004-0160-2962, Truth Hardware, West Hazelton, Pennsylvania.
In February 2004, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a confidential employee request for a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE). The request concerned potential worker exposures in the zinc casting department at Truth Hardware in West Hazelton, Pennsylvania. The HHE request mentioned that workers had experienced vision blurring, burning eyes, headaches, dizziness, and nausea. On June 29-30, 2004, NIOSH conducted an HHE at this plant. Carbon monoxide (CO) and element (metals) air samples were collected in the zinc casting department. In addition, air samples were collected using thermal desorption tubes and charcoal tubes during ink pad operations and analyzed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). CO area results (collected when the doors were shut in the plant) indicated that workers may be exposed to concentrations exceeding the NIOSH recommended exposure limit (REL) and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists' (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Values (TLVs). In addition, the CO results indicate the potential to approach the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL). Air sampling results indicated element (metals) concentrations at low detectable levels or below the limit of detection for the analytical method (well below applicable occupational criteria). VOC results in the ink pad operations indicated concentrations well below applicable occupational exposure criteria. Sampling results indicate a hazard from overexposure to CO. In the winter when the plant windows and doors are closed and natural ventilation is at a minimum, the CO concentration may be higher. Recommendations to help reduce CO emissions are provided in the report.