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HHE determination report no. HHE-79-110-700, Globe Metallurgical, A Division of Interlake, Inc., Beverly Ohio.

Singal M; Tharr DG
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 79-110-700, 1980 Jun; :1-17
An environmental and medical survey was conducted between June and November, 1979 at the Globe Metallurgical Division of Interlake, Incorporated (SIC-2819) in Beverly, Ohio. An authorized representative from the United Steel Workers of America, Local 6856, requested the investigation to evaluate health problems experienced by employees during the production of rare earth silicide. The evaluation consisted of a telephone survey of employees followed by a medical and environmental study of the factory. The telephone survey of 98 workers indicated that the workers at Furnace Number 1 producing rare earth silicide were more likely to report one or more symptoms of various irritative, respiratory, gastrointestinal and constitutional disorders than other workers. Mucous membrane irritation was the most commonly reported symptom. The follow-up medical questionnaire showed no statistically significant difference in reported symptoms between workers exposed to rare earth and those not exposed. Blood tests of exposed workers did not reveal any evidence of hemolytic anemia which is an effect of arsine (7784421) exposure. The authors conclude that although Furnace Number 1 workers had greater exposures to fluoride, iron-oxide (1309371), and lead (7439921) than a comparison group from a furnace not using rare earths, none of the concentrations measured would be expected to produce adverse health effects. They also note that Furnace Number 1 employees are exposed to greater concentrations of rare earths but the health effects of these exposures are not known. Based on reported symptoms, they suggest the possibility that excessive phosphine (7803512) exposures have occurred. The authors recommend that management expand its rare earth training to all personnel, that employees report any symptoms experienced while working with rare earths, and that ventilation be improved for rare earth silicide storage and for ladlemen and helpers at their specific work sites.
NIOSH-Author; HHE-79-110-700; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; Region-5; Hazard-Confirmed; Industrial-inorganic-chemicals; Silicon-compounds; Employee-health; Irritant-gases; Occupational-exposure; Blood-chemistry; Author Keywords: earth silicide; rare earth metals; iron; lead; arsine; phosphine; total particulate; fluorides; mucous membrane irritation; furnace; ladlemen
7784-42-1; 1309-37-1; 7439-92-1; 7803-51-2
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Field Studies; Health Hazard Evaluation
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division