HHE Determination, Report No. HHE-76-79-80-543, Weyerhaeuser Co., Longview, Washington, November 1978.
Worker exposure to wood dusts were evaluated at the shake mill, new planer, old planer, bark, pres-tock, presto-log, plywood and resin areas of the Weyerhaeuser Company (SIC-2435) in Longview, Washington. Environmental samples were collected for analysis, and employees were interviewed and given physical evidence of occupational asthma due to western and red cedar wood dust exposure; the average dust concentration in 85 breathing zone samples was 4.72 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/cu m). Among new planer workers, 3 of 58 had occupational asthma due to exposures to Douglas fir and hemlock wood dusts, and sodium pentachlorophenate (131522). Average dust exposure for these workers was 1.28 mg/cu m. For old planer, bark and pres-tock workers, hazardous exposures to Douglas fir and hemlock, Douglas fir and alder bark, and alder wood dusts, respectively, were identified. No toxic exposures were found for workers in the presto-log, plywood or resin areas. The author suggests that all workers receive preplacement and periodic medical evaluations including pulmonary function tests; individual medical records should be maintained for up to 30 years; and workers should be educated concerning the hazards, symptoms and proper safety precautions associated with wood dust exposure. Exposures to Western red cedar dust should not exceed 2.5mg/cu m, and exposures to alder, fir and hemlock dusts should be maintained below 50mg/cu m. Regular air sampling should be performed. Specific work practices should be established for Shake mill workers, and ventilation systems in all areas should be improved.
Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio, 137 pages, 64 references