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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-83-348-1397, Littleton Historical Museum, Littleton, Colorado.
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 83-348-1397, 1983 Dec; :1-6
Worker exposures to ethylene-oxide (75218) (EO) were investigated on September 15 and 16, 1983 at the Littleton Historical Museum (SIC- 8411) in Littleton, Colorado. The evaluation was requested by the employees who used EO to fumigate museum artifacts. Breathing zone and area air samples were collected in the fumigation chamber and analyzed for EO, and three exposed workers were questioned about exposure related health symptoms. EO concentrations were as high as 137 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3) during and after EO fumigation. The OSHA 8 hour time weighted average standard is 90mg/m3. Exposures were greatest inside the chamber while workers were removing the artifacts. There was no dilution or exhaust ventilation in the room where the chamber was located. None of the three workers questioned reported any health symptoms associated with work. The author concludes that a severe hazard from EO exposure exists at all times when the fumigation chamber is used. Due to the way that the chamber is constructed and the extreme toxicity of EO, it would be almost impossible to operate the chamber without seriously overexposing the workers. The author recommends that the chamber should not be used until a suitable way is found to drastically reduce EO exposures; ventilation would not be feasible or economical. An aeration chamber should be used to hold articles during post fumigation.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Hazards-Confirmed; Pest-control; Region-8; Industrial-processes; Toxic-materials; Industrial-chemicals; HETA-83-348-1397; Author Keywords: Fumigation of Artifacts; Museums; Ethylene Oxide
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division