Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2005-0243-3016, ACH Foam Technologies, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
On May 17, 2005, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a confidential request from three employees at ACH Foam Technologies in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The requestors expressed concerns about potential long-term effects from exposure to smoke and chemicals generated while manufacturing polystyrene and cutting polyethylene sheeting and expandable polystyrene (EPS) foam. On August 31, 2005, NIOSH investigators sampled for chemical byproducts from the EPS processes at the ACH facility. Personal breathing zone (PBZ) and area air samples were collected for pentane, styrene, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and respirable and total dust. Air samples collected on thermal desorption tubes identified pentane, styrene, acetophenone, ethylbenzene, and xylene as predominant chemicals. The charcoal tubes used to sample for VOCs were submitted for laboratory analysis for acetophenone, ethylbenzene, and xylene. Area concentrations of carbon monoxide, a potential byproduct from the EPS processes, were measured in several departments with a direct reading instrument. All sample results were below applicable occupational exposure limits. NIOSH investigators conclude that a health hazard did not exist on the day of this evaluation. Employees were not exposed over applicable occupational exposure limits to carbon monoxide, pentane, styrene, acetophenone, ethylbenzene, xylene, respirable dust, or total dust while molding and cutting EPS products. Recommendations in this report include providing local exhaust ventilation in the hot wire cutting area, repairing damaged duct work in the Recycling department, and improving communication between supervisors and employees.