HHE Determination, Report No. HHE-79-39-604, Nevelle Chemical Company, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
An environmental and medical evaluations was conducted at the Nevelle Chemical Company, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to determine employee exposures to respirable dust, benzene (71432), toluene (108883), styrene (100425), xylene (1330207), oil-mist, and hydrogen- chloride (7647010). A representative of the United Steelworkers of America, Local 12046, requested the evaluation on behalf of about 250 affected workers. Total dust particulate values ranged from 3.78 to 150.3 milligram per cubic meter (mg/cu m). All hydrogen- chloride samples were below the threshold limit value (TLV) of 7 mg/cu m. Oil mist sample values ranged from 0.02 to 0.03 mg/cu m; below the TLV standard of 5 mg/cu m. Concentrations of benzene, toluene, xylene and styrene ranged from undetectable to 0.48, 0.49, corresponding evaluation criteria of 10,100,100 and 100 parts million. Clinical examinations revealed a significant relationship between symptoms of chest tightness, eye and nose irritation, and tiredness and exposure to the chemicals among production workers. There was a significant incidence of skin abnormalities among exposed workers. Pulmonary function tests revealed no abnormalities, and x-rays and blood chemistry tests were normal. The author suggests that some of the workers may be exposed to hazardous amounts of respirable dust. Preemployment and periodic medical examinations should be provided, ventilation systems should be improved, respiratory protection equipment and clothing should be used, and good housekeeping practices should be developed.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio, 55 pages, 19 references