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Health hazard evaluation report: HHE-80-204-794, Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co., Washington, D.C.

Lee SA
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HHE 80-204-794, 1981 Jan; :1-7
Worker exposures to a refined petroleum solvent, Soltrol-170, were surveyed on August 26, 1980 at the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company (SIC-4811) in Washington, D.C. The evaluation was requested by the employees after five workers developed skin problems after contact with the cable degreasing solvent. At the time of the evaluation, the company had suspended use of the solvent and had proposed new guidelines for its use. NIOSH investigators conducted simulated degreasing operations under the proposed guidelines, and collected personal and area air samples. The five affected workers were interviewed a few weeks later. The solvent contained a mixture of highly branched and thoroughly saturated 13-14 carbon aliphatic compounds. Personal breathing zone samples contained no detectable amounts of solvent. One area air sample contained about 20 milligrams of solvent per cubic meter. The OSHA standard for Stoddard solvents is 2,950 milligrams per cubic meter as a time weighted average concentration. Only two of the five cases of skin problems were possibly related to solvent exposure. The authors conclude that skin problems due to the degreasing solvent may have occurred under the original conditions of use, however the proposed use guidelines, which include the use of protective gloves and application with a damp cloth rather than spraying, appear adequate to prevent further problems. They suggest that all solvent degreasing operations be done outside the manholes and that NIOSH guidelines for working in confined spaces be followed.
NIOSH-Author; HHE-80-204-794; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; Hazards-Unconfirmed; Region-3; Skin-disorders; Air-sampling; Solvents; Health-surveys; Worker-health; Author Keywords: Telephone Communication; cable splicing technicians; confined spaces; degreasing solvents; Soltrol 170; refined petroleum solvents; kerosene
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Field Studies; Health Hazard Evaluation
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: December 18, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division