HHE Report No. HHE-80-157-888, Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, Bronx, New York.
Environmental and personal air samples were analyzed for organic vapors at the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center (SIC-8062), in Bronx, New York, on August 6 to 8, 1980, and on February 12, 1981. Medical interviews were also conducted with several employees. A representative of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, District Council 37, requested the evaluation on behalf of approximately 48 workers. Personal breathing zone air samples revealed trace quantities of toluene (108883), styrene (100425), and limonene (138863). The OSHA standards for toluene and styrene are 200 and 100 parts per million, respectively. No standards exist for limonene. Twenty eight of the 33 workers interviewed reported skin and eye irritation, dizziness, and difficulty in holding items. Five workers had dermatitis, and five others had histories suggestive of irritant dermatitis. Six workers suffered from malaria caused by working in a hot, humid environment. The authors conclude that no specific cause can be determined for the reported adverse health effects, although the observed high temperature and humidity of the work area may be a factor. They recommend reducing the temperature and humidity, use of microwave ovens that exhaust from the rear, relocation of the microwave ovens from the existing eye level position, and the periodic testing of the microwave ovens for radiation leakage.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio, 12 pages