Health Evaluation and Technical Assistance Report No. TA-79-30, John Muir Memorial Hospital, Walnut Creek, California.
Personal and area environmental air samples were taken on March 6, 24, and 25, 1979 in the histology, cytology and pathology rooms at the John Muir Memorial Hospital, (SIC-8062) Walnut Creek, California. The sampling was done in response to a request from the laboratory director at the hospital for an evaluation of employee exposure to benzene (71432), xylene (1330207), and ethanol (64175). Sample results show that no benzene vapors were detected. Xylene and ethanol vapor concentrations were detected at 2.4 to 55.8 and 3.8 to 25.8 milligrams of contaminant per cubic meter of air, respectively. All concentrations were less than OSHA standards for benzene, xylene, and ethanol (30, 435, and 1,900 milligrams of contaminant per cubic meter of air, respectively). It is recommended that employees use proper equipment when handling chemicals, histology chemicals should be stored in chemical storage cabinets, and employees receive routine training in the use of toxic chemicals. It is also recommended that procedures be established for cleaning up chemical spills, chemicals such as solvents be disposed of in a special container, and when solvents are not in use they should be covered or kept under an exhaust hood. The tissue processor should either be ventilated or the mineral oil should be changed more often to eliminate rancid odors, and employees should not eat or drink in the laboratory rooms.
Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report No. TA-79-30, 10 pages, 8 references