HHE determination report no. HHE-76-46-375, L. L. Bean, Inc., Freeport, Maine.
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HHE 76-46-375, 1977 Mar; :1-32
Acting on a request received from the management of L. L. Bean, Inc., a production facility engaged in the manufacture of tanned leather (SIC-3111) consumer items, regarding employee exposure to vapors from adhesives and solvents and also a case of nasal irritation from the dust raised in the cutting of chrome tanned leather, a health hazard evaluation was conducted by NIOSH at the above mentioned facility in Freeport, Maine, on May 13 and November 3-5, 1976. Exposure to airborne benzene (71432) in the making room was in excess of the recommended environmental criteria and, due to the potential leukemogenesis of benzene, recommendations are made to ventilate the operation and also to switch to a benzene free solvent. Charcoal tube analysis and detector tube results gave different indications of the potential hazards posed by the concentrations of toluene, hexane (110543), and ethyl-acetate in the air; in both cases, however, the airborne levels were such as to justify changes in the existing ventilation system. Due to the toxicity of the thermal decomposition products of nylon (9006739) and polypropylene and the complaints of mucous membrane irritation recorded among the 19 affected workers, it is appropriate to ventilate the plastic cord cutting operation. Exposure of employees to leather, wood and synthetic rubber dust, chromium (7440473) residue in leather dust, ammonia (7664417), toluene (108883), petroleum naphtha (8030306), acetone (67641), ethyl-acetate (141786), isopropyl-alcohol (67630), butyl-acetate (123864), isobutyl-acetate (110190) xylene (1330207), and 2-ethoxyethanol are not considered to pose a health hazard. The results are based on measurement of workplace concentration of airborne contaminants, survey of process operations and control measures, and interviews with affected employees.