Technical Assistance Report No. TA-78-33, William T. Burnett Company, Baltimore, Md.
Urinary and neurological disorders among workers at the William T. Burnett Company (SIC-2824) in Baltimore, Maryland, were investigated from April 7 to May 5, 1978. The investigation was requested by the Assistant Secretary of Labor, OSHA, after workers reported various urinary and neurological symptoms. Medical questionnaires revealed widespread cases of urinary retention among workers. Skin problems and visual disorders were also prevalent among workers. Weakness and paresthesias were also reported by several workers, as were cases of sexual dysfunction. Environmental sampling revealed the presence of toluene-diisocyanate (584849) (TDI), N-ethylmorpholine (100743), dimethyl-piperazine (106581), formaldehyde (50000), propionaldehyde (123386), cyclopentanone (120923), methylene- chloride (75092), N-methyl-morpholine (109024), and acetone (67641). TDI concentrations ranged from 0.009 to 0.206 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/CuM), compared with the OSHA standard of 0.14mg/CuM. All other sampled substances were below their respective exposure criteria or were in trace amounts. The author concludes that the reports of employee urological and neurological disorders, and possibly the sexual dysfunctions, resulted from exposure to the recently introduced NIA-catalyst-ESN, a mixture of dimethylamino- propionitrile (1738256), and bis(2-(dimethylamino)ethyl)ether (3033623). Other health problems noted during the survey, including skin, eye, and respiratory symptoms may have resulted from other occupational exposures, but were not of primary consideration in the present survey. The author recommends strict personal hygiene and adherence to good work practices, development of a health and safety program, maintenance of toxicity data for all substances used, periodic medical monitoring of workers, and ventilation modifications to reduce employee exposures to chemicals.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio, 55 pages, 52 references