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HHE determination report no. HHE-79-111-701, GTE Sylvania Plant, Standish, Maine.

Gororan RW; Keenlyside RA
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HHE 79-111-701, 1980 Jun; :1-19
An environmental and medical survey was conducted at the General Telephone and Electronics Sylvania Company (SIC-3670) in Standish, Maine. The employees requested the evaluation to investigate possible health hazards from copper (7440508) exposures resulting from the manufacture of small electrical components. The initial investigation on July 31 and August 1, 1979 revealed that copper, isopropanol (67630), and inorganic vapors measured in area air samples were well below OSHA standards. However, elevated concentrations of airborne lead (7439921) were detected throughout the facility with 80 percent in excess of the OSHA standard of 50 micrograms per cubic meter. Employees with previously documented high copper excretion were interviewed and had blood and 24 hour urine samples taken for lead and copper analysis. Their symptoms were not compatible with the reported effects of lead or copper intoxication, and increased urinary copper excretion could not be confirmed. A follow up study to evaluate lead exposure on November 14 and 15, 1979 found blood lead concentrations in 88 workers ranging from 12 to 68 micrograms per deciliter (dl). Airborne concentrations in personal breathing zone and area samples ranged from undetectable to 306, and undetectable to 113 micrograms per cubic meter, respectively. The authors conclude that no significant exposure to copper exists but that unacceptably high concentrations of lead were detected and resulted in elevated blood lead in workers. They recommended that the health hazard from lead be reduced through engineering controls, improved ventilation, substitution of the leaded glass used, and initiation of a program to monitor blood lead concentrations in workers.
NIOSH-Author; HHE-79-111-701; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; Region-1; Hazard-Confirmed; Copper-dust; Occupational-exposure; Electrical-systems; Workplace-studies; Hematology; Author Keywords: copper; lead; blood lead; Sealex machine
7440-50-8; 67-63-0; 7439-92-1
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Field Studies; Health Hazard Evaluation
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: December 11, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division