HHE Report No. HHE-80-154-1027, Bechtel Power Corporation, Berwick, Pennsylvania.
Environmental air samples were analyzed for organic solvents, bulk samples of the solvents were analyzed, and medical interviews were conducted at Bechtel Power Corporation (SIC-1629) in Berwick, Pennsylvania, on June 25, 1980. A representative of the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades, Local 41, requested the evaluation on behalf of approximately 50 affected painters at this facility. Analysis of bulk samples revealed the presence of methylene-chloride (75092), toluene (108883), isopropanol (67630), methyl-ethyl-ketone (78933), methyl-isobutyl- ketone (108101), xylene (1330207), butyl-cellosolve (111762), molecular weight 120 aromatics and diacetone-alcohol (123422). Isopropanol air concentrations ranged from 7.9 to 216 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/CuM), compared with the OSHA standard of 980mg/CuM. Toluene air concentrations ranged from about 0.01 to 55.5mg/CuM, less than the OSHA standard of 750mg/CuM. Benzyl-alcohol air concentrations were less than 0.01mg/CuM. Perchloroethylene (127184) concentrations ranged from about 0.01 to 0.46mg/CuM, compared with the OSHA standard of 670mg/Cu M. Furfuryl-alcohol (98000) concentrations ranged from about 0.01 to 7.84mg/CuM, compared with the OSHA standard of 200mg/CuM. Bisphenyl-A and diglycidal-ethers of bisphenyl-A ranged from about 0.5 to 5.4 micrograms per cubic meter. Seven employees interviewed reported acute reversible dizziness, light headedness, headache, bad taste in the mouth, and skin problems. The authors conclude that the painters were not overexposed to organic solvents. They recommend periodic environmental air monitoring, use of appropriate respiratory equipment, medical monitoring of affected workers, and worker education.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio, 19 pages, 18 references