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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2007-0263-3069, report on respiratory and dermal conditions among machine shop workers, Superior Industries International, Inc., Pittsburg, Kansas.

Cummings-KJ; Boylstein-RJ; Cox-Ganser-J
NIOSH 2008 Jul; :1-52
On May 25, 2007, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a confidential Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) request from workers at the Superior Industries International, Inc. facility in Pittsburg, Kansas. Workers reported recurrent pneumonias, asthma, and other respiratory symptoms as well as rashes and skin irritation that they related to the metalworking fluid (MWF), or coolant, used in the facility's machine shop. Exposure to MWF is associated with respiratory conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis, as well as with dermatitis [NIOSH 1998]. NIOSH has established a Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) for MWF in the air of 0.4 mg/m3 (thoracic particulate mass), as a time-weighted average [TWA] for up 10 hours. This level corresponds to 0.5 mg/m3 for total particulate mass. NIOSH investigators conducted telephone interviews with workers, treating physicians, company management and safety officials, and the director of the company's referral occupational health clinic. They reviewed medical records and environmental monitoring conducted by the company. They also conducted microbiological tests on samples of MWF collected from the machine shop. The investigators found that workers' symptoms and diagnoses were consistent with those associated with exposure to MWF. Workers in the machine shop reported not receiving training on the health hazards of MWF and not being provided respiratory protection; furthermore, they are not in a medical surveillance program. Operations are enclosed, but ventilation is limited to general exhaust and workers handling the automobile wheels have skin contact with MWF. Environmental monitoring conducted by the company showed MWF air levels above the NIOSH REL, but no or low growth of bacteria and fungi in the MWF. Analyses of MWF by NIOSH confirmed the minimal microbial growth, but did demonstrate the presence of mycobacterial DNA and fungal products. NIOSH recommends that management provide training on MWF to exposed workers, conduct environmental monitoring that includes personal sampling, implement local ventilation, provide personal protective equipment including respirators and gloves, and establish a medical surveillance program aimed at early identification of MWF-related respiratory and dermal conditions.
Region-7; Metalworking-industry; Metalworking-fluids; Metalworking; Respiratory-system-disorders; Bronchial-asthma; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Pulmonary-function; Hypersensitivity; Dermatitis; Dermatosis; Mycotoxins; Bacteria; Skin-disorders; Skin-irritants; Author Keywords: metalworking fluid; occupational asthma; hypersensitivity pneumonitis; dermatitis; mycobacteria
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
Fiscal Year
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NIOSH Division
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health