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Health hazard evaluation determination report: HHE-77-22-409, Purex Corporation, London, Ohio.

Gilles D; Meyer C
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 77-22-409, 1977 Aug; :1-17
Environmental and medical surveys were conducted on December 8, 1976, and February 14 and 15, 1977, to evaluate employee exposure to soap dust from soap impregnated steel wool pads at the Purex Corporation (SIC-3291, SIC-2841) in London, Ohio. The evaluation was requested by an authorized employee representative on behalf of the approximately 85 affected employees. All respirable dust samples were below the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) standard for nuisance dust of 5 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3). Three of 75 total soap dust concentrations exceeded the ACGIH standard of 10mg/m3 for total nuisance dust. The soap dust, when added to pH 7 water, raised the solution pH to 10.5, which was moderately to severely alkaline. Some of the workers had abnormal pulmonary function test results. The authors conclude that due to the presence of pulmonary function changes among some exposed workers, the high incidence of upper respiratory symptomology and the high alkalinity of the soap dust, this dust should be categorized as more than a nuisance dust. They recommend that the exposure limits be reduced, that the ventilation system be expanded and operated at all times, that employees be provided with appropriate respirators and instructions on their proper use, that proper work procedures and handling methods be presented to all employees, that a vacuum system be used for cleanup, and that a medical surveillance program be instituted.
NIOSH-Author; HHE-77-22-409; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; Soap-manufacture; Hazard-Confirmed; Region-5; Steel-wool; Occupational-exposure; Dust-particles; Respiratory-system-disorders; Industrial-hygiene; Humans; Author Keywords: Soap Dust; Total and Respirable Dust; Pulmonary Function Tests; Upper Respiratory Symptomatology
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Health Hazard Evaluation
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
SIC Code
3291; 2841
Source Name
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