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HHE determination report no. HHE-78-26-560, Mallory Battery Company, Lexington, North Carolina.
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 78-26-560, 1979 Dec; :1-32
Airborne concentrations of inorganic mercury (7439976) were measured at the Mallory Battery Company (SIC-3692) in Lexington, North Carolina on January 10 and February 13 to 15, 1978. The evaluation was requested by the employer for approximately 100 employees. A medical questionnaire and physical examinations were also administered to evaluate mercury exposure. Measured values of total mercury (particulate and elemental) exposure ranged from 0.07 to 2.25 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/cu m) with all but 2 of 42 values exceeding the OSHA 8 hour standard of 0.1mg/cu m. Questionnaire responses showed several symptoms (irritability, backache, and muscle twitch) that occurred more frequently than in a control group not exposed to mercury. A significant difference was found between the higher rate of miscarriages among employees and the lower rate (zero percent) of a control group. Analysis of semen from employees showed no harmful effects due to mercury. There was evidence of mercury absorption as indicated by elevated urine mercury concentrations. The investigators conclude that there was a significant mercury exposure to employees at the facility. Evidence of increased mercury absorption was found among the employees. There was no correlation between urine mercury concentrations and symptoms as reported on the questionnaires. The investigators recommend that positive pressure respirators or self-contained breathing apparatus be supplied to employees until engineering controls are installed to reduce mercury exposure. A written respirator program should be developed, the hazards of mercury exposure should be pointed out to employees, employee mercury exposure should be monitored periodically, spills should be quickly and thoroughly cleaned up, and periodic physical examinations, including tests of urine mercury concentrations, should be continued.
NIOSH-Author; HHE-78-26-560; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; Hazard-Confirmed; Region-4; Inorganic-mercury; Air-contamination; Medical-examinations; Clinical-symptoms; Reproductive-effects; Respiratory-protection; Author Keywords: inorganic mercury; particulate and elemental; urine Hg; tremor
Field Studies; Health Hazard Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division