HETA Report No. TA-79-16, Johnson Memorial Hospital, Stafford Springs, Connecticut.
Levels of airborne substances in concentrations sufficient to cause symptoms of discomfort were investigated in the Administration and Central Sterile System areas on February 15, 16, and March 29, 1979, at Johnson Memorial Hospital (SIC-8062), Stafford Springs, Connecticut. The evaluation was requested by the hospital administrator. Analysis of ambient air samples did not reveal the presence of fibrous-glass (14808607). Analysis of bulk samples subjected to thermal decomposition analysis at 302 degrees-F showed small amounts of methylene-chloride (75092), carbon-disulfide (75150), furan (110009), furfural (98011), and methyl-furfural (620020), and lesser amounts of acetone (67641), methyl-ethyl-ketone (78933), pentanone (27154672), and furfuryl-methyl-ketone (6975606). At 100 degrees-F, no volatile compounds were identified. It is concluded that concentrations of chemicals and airborne fibers were well within OSHA limits, and that reported symptoms of irritation were due to high temperatures, cigarette smoke, and poor air flow. Recommendations resulting from the evaluation include increasing air handling capability, improving ventilation systems, reducing the amount of solar radiation in administrative areas, increasing humidity, scrutinizing work safety practices to prevent ethylene- oxide (75218) exposure during sterilizer operations, modifying the handling and storage of formaldehyde (50000), and prohibiting smoking.
Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report No. TA-79-16, 13 pages, 10 references