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EPI Report No 74-39-2.
Fontaine RE; Lemen R; Heath CW
NIOSH 1974 Oct:1-15
Acute peripheral polyneuropathy occurred in 48 employees of a plastic coated fabrics producing company that used methyl-butyl- ketone (591786) (MBK). Thirty six of the cases developed in workers in the print department, where a solvent containing 10 percent MBK had been introduced shortly before the symptoms developed. Symptoms included tingling of arms and legs, muscular weakness, abnormal gait, fatigue and loss of sensation. No cases were observed among workers at another facility where similar fabric production was performed without the use of MBK. High exposure to MBK and methyl- ethyl-ketone (78933) (MEK) probably resulted from direct contact with liquid solvent through ingestion and skin contact, and from inhalation of excessive air concentrations of solvent vapor. No new cases occurred during the 12 months following the removal of MBK. The authors conclude that exposure to MBK was probably responsible for the outbreak of peripheral neuropathy, however they not that MEK also may have contributed to the disease prevalence. They recommended that use of MBK be discontinued, that work and hygiene practices be improved, that improved ventilation systems be installed in the print department, and that protective clothing be used.
Plastic-products; Coatings; Solvents; Physiology; Clinical-symptoms; Nervous-system-disorders; Control-methods; Workplace-studies; Printers; Case-studies; Humans; Ketones;
Bureau of Epidemiology, NIOSH, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Cincinnati, Ohio
Page last reviewed: February 4, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division