Environmental samples were analyzed for the presence of chromium (7440473), hexavalent chromium, iron-oxide (1332372), particulate fluoride manganese (7439965), lead (7439921) welding fumes, gaseous fluorides, nickel (7440020), molybdenum (7439987), and carbon- dioxide (124389) at the U.S. Steel Tubing Specialities Center (SIC- 3312) in Gary, Indiana, on May 23 and 24, and September, 1979, and on January 30 and February 1, 1980. The evaluation request was by the United Steelworkers of America, Local 2697 on behalf of 34 welders to evaluate a high rate of cardiovascular disease among workers. Concentrations of total chromium, hexavalent chromium and particulate fluoride were 0.02, 0.006, and 0.003 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/CuM), respectively; and their corresponding OSHA permissible exposure concentrations were 1.0, 1.0 and 2.5mg/CuM. Concentrations of iron-oxide, manganese, lead, and welding fumes ranged from 0.1 to 2.9, 0.004 to 0.19, 0.01 to 0.57 and 0.59 to 9.6mg/CuM, respectively, and their corresponding OSHA permissible exposure concentrations were 10.0, 5.0, 0.05, and 5.0mg/CuM. Gaseous fluorides, nickel, molybdenum and vanadium were not detected. Concentrations of carbon-monoxide ranged from less than 2 to 73.8 parts per million (ppm), exceeding the OSHA standard of 50ppm. The medical survey indicated an excess incidence of cardiovascular disease and increased respiratory symptoms. Blood lead and free erythrocyte protoporphyrin results were normal. The authors conclude that a health hazard due to overexposure to lead, carbon-monoxide and welding fumes and an excess of cardiovascular disease and respiratory symptoms exists. They recommend measures for the protection of workers and the reduction of hazards.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluation and Field Studies, Cincinnati, Ohio, 23 pages, 13 references