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HHE determination report no. HHE-75-11-403, Port of Duluth-Superior Grain Elevators, Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin.
Flesch JP; Thoburn TW
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 75-11-403, 1977 Jun; :1-45
A health hazard evaluation investigation was conducted by NIOSH at the grain elevators (SIC-4221) in the Port of Duluth-Superior in 1975-76, following a request by an authorized workers' representative alleging illness and complaints from a large number of workers due to chemicals and high dust levels. Elevator breathing zone exposures to chemical fumigants were nearly nonexistent; only trace of carbon-tetrachloride (56235) were detected at five of the elevators surveyed. Some elevator workers were exposed to airborne total grain dust at levels exceeding the OSHA nuisance dust standards. Symptoms of eye irritation were reported by a few workers presumably due to excessive dust exposures during the survey. Extensive medical evaluation of the 307 exposed workers lead to the conclusion that the working environment in the grain elevators has caused acute respiratory, eye and nasal symptoms as determined by history from workers and personal observation. Long term effects were also noted by history and respiratory function tests. Smokers were more affected than nonsmokers, but nonsmokers also had a higher incidence of such problems than the general population. A high frequency of skin reactivity to intradermal injection of insect and flax antigen was found among workers; significant correlation with wheezing upon exposure to grain dust and respiratory function abnormalities was also found. Recommendation are made to provide for worker protection, surveillance, and health maintenance.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; HHE-75-11-403; Hazard-Confirmed; Region-5; Air-quality-measurement; Chlorinated-methanes; Smoking; Allergic-reactions; Respiratory-system-disorders; Occupational-exposure; Grain-elevator-workers; Diagnostic-tests; Dust-control; Author Keywords: grain elevators; grain dust; nuisance dust; eye irritation; acute respiratory, eye, nasal symptoms; Duram wheat; barley; rye; pulmonary function testing
Field Studies; Health Hazard Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
MN; WI; OH
Page last reviewed: December 4, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division