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Hazard Hazard Evaluation Report, TA-80-024-887, Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
McGlothlin JD; Harris J; Hampl V
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, TA 80-024-887, 1981 May; :1-33
Worker exposures to solvents, trace metals and carbon-monoxide (630080), were surveyed at the Department of Justice (SIC-9100), in Washington, D.C. on January 7 to 9, 1980. Subsequent surveys were conducted on February 4 to 6, 1980 to evaluate the building ventilation system and the health status of 400 workers, and on June 3 to 5, 1980 to map the contaminants using sulfur-hexafluoride tracer gas. Air concentrations of petroleum-naphtha (8030306) vapors, toluene (108883), and xylene (1330207) were below respective OSHA standards of 2000, 752, and 433 milligrams per cubic meter. No significant concentrations of metal contaminants were found. The mean concentration of carbon-monoxide in offices was 8 parts per million (ppm) or less and was 25ppm or less in the garage. Temporary carbon-monoxide excursions in excess of 100ppm were detected in the garage. The OSHA standard for carbon-monoxide is 50ppm. Air flow in the building generally was inadequate. Tracer gas analysis revealed automotive emission migration from the garage into the overhead offices. Eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches and fatigue were the most common symptoms reported by the 216 workers questioned. Pre- and post-shift carboxyhemoglobin breath tests for 14 subjects were normal. The author concludes that a health hazard may have existed to employees in this building prior to April 1980, although exposures to significant concentrations of carbon-monoxide and automotive hydrocarbon emissions since April 1980 were improbable. The authors note that ventilation deficiencies in the building are still a problem. They recommend engineering modifications to improve ventilation, use of local exhaust ventilation for serviced vehicles, and medical surveillance of affected workers.
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