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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-80-007-1520, GSA Switchgear Shop, Washington, D.C.
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 80-007-1520, 1984 Oct; :1-40
Environmental and breathing zone samples were analyzed for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at the General Services Administration (GSA) switch gear shop (SIC-3612), Washington, DC in December, 1979 and January and May, 1980. The survey was requested by GSA to evaluate PCB and other exposures. Environmental samples were also analyzed for tetrachlorodibenzodioxins (TCDDs) and tetrachlorodibenzofurans. Fifty five current and former employees and 56 comparisons were given complete medical evaluations that included nerve conduction studies and serum and fat PCB analyses. PCB concentrations in the environmental samples ranged up to 24 micrograms per cubic meter (microg/m3). Air samples contained average background concentrations of 0.5microg/m3 that increased to 15microg/m3 while work was in progress, eventually falling to a mean of 0.8microg/m3. The OSHA standard for PCBs is 1.0microg/m3. Thirty one parts per billion 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzofuran (51207319) was found in a transformer fluid sample. No TCDDs were detected. Serum and fat PCB concentrations were higher in the exposed workers. No subjects had clinical signs of PCB poisoning. The incidence of irritative symptoms, however, was higher in the exposed group. The authors conclude that a potential health hazard due to PCB exposure exists at the shop. Recommendations include using proper protective clothing and improving work practices.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Hazards-Confirmed; Power-generation; Region-3; Clothing; Analytical-models; Laboratories; Quantitative-analysis; HETA-80-007-1520; Author Keywords: Power Distribution and Specialty Transformers; PCB; Dioxin; Furan; Transformer Fluid; Transformer Maintenance; Chloracne; Health Effects; Neurological Effects; Hepatotoxicity
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