HHE Report No. HHE-80-106-963, Union Carbide, Sistersville, West Virgina.
Employees were interviewed, medical records and previous health studies reviewed, and company environmental exposure data examined at Union Carbide (SIC-2818), in Sistersville, West Virginia on June 23 and 24, 1980. The evaluation was requested by a representative of the International Chemical Workers Union on behalf of approximately five workers in the Polymer Two Department who had developed tumors. Review of environmental exposure data revealed previous concentrations of allyl-chloride (107051) ranging from 0.1 to 0.11 parts per million (ppm), methyl-chloride (74873) in concentrations of 0.1 to 15.0ppm, toluene (108883) concentrations ranging from 0.3 to 67.0ppm, formaldehyde (50000) in the 0.5 to 4.0ppm range, benzaldehyde (100527) ranging from 0.01 to 0.04ppm, dimethylamine (124403) ranging from 0.2 to 32.8ppm, and trimethylamine (75503) concentrations in the 0.03 to 0.09ppm range. Exposures were generally of short duration and would not be expected to exceed current exposure standards. Most of the 31 workers interviewed reported instances of light headedness and mucous membrane irritation. Review of medical records of those reported as having lumps revealed findings of lymphoma cutis, thyroid cancer, mastopathia, cystofibrotica, clogged pore cyst, enlargement of regional lymph node accompanying stomatitis, a presternal tissue thickening, and in one person, a tender inflammatory swelling on the neck. There was no evidence of a cause specific disease cluster in the 34 death certificates reviewed. The authors conclude that there was no evidence of a lymphoma cancer cluster among workers in the Polymer Two area. They recommend improved ventilation in the kettle house and storage drum area, quality control of toluene used in production, and a more thorough evaluation of formaldehyde exposures.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio, 8 pages