HHE Report No. HETA-81-174-962, Sport Craft, Inc., Perry, Florida.
Reports of respiratory and dermatological sensitization occurring between 1976 and 1978 among workers at Sport Craft, Incorporated (SIC-3737), in Perry, Florida, were investigated during March 1981. OSHA requested the evaluation based on a reported case of allergic sensitization to polyvinyl-chloride (9002862). Major personnel and process changes had occurred since a prior OSHA survey in 1977, and no current health hazard was found during the March 1981 survey. However, interviews with former employees suggested that a variety of health problems, including headache, nausea, rashes, breathing difficulties, and facial flushing, occurred intermittently in employees during the 1970's. These reported symptoms were consistant with exposure to several volatile solvents and carriers in the vinyl fabric processed. Four of 12 former workers reported the development of chronic respiratory symptoms during their employment. Examination of medical records of two of these workers verified a clinical diagnosis of industrial asthma and chronic productive cough, respectively. Lack of appropriate environmental data, of more specific medical evidence, or of adequate epidemiological evidence precluded any definite conclusion about the relationship between the pulmonary diseases and occupational exposure. The authors conclude that past chemical exposures may have been responsible for the reported cases of central nervous system intoxication, contact dermatitis, difficulties in breathing and flushing. They recommend the continuation of hygienic practices, full airing of uncured fabric rolls, the possible formation of an employee and management health and safety committee, and employee education.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio, 7 pages, 7 references