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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-85-062-1652, Veterans Administration Center and Regional Office, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Bennett DE
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 85-062-1652, 1986 Jan; :1-15
Concern among employees that asbestos (1332214) exposure at the Veterans Administration Center and Regional Office (SIC-9451) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania may be causing relatively high rates of cancer deaths culminated in a NIOSH evaluation of the facility. Medical and personnel records were incomplete, but death certificates were obtained for 10 of 20 presumed cancer victims. Three had died of lung cancer, two of colon cancer, and one each of gastric, small intestine, pancreas, and breast cancer. This sampling was too small to draw any conclusions concerning a cancer cluster. Bulk samples of steam pipes and damaged ceiling tiles were taken from the areas of concern. Three of the five bulk samples showed chrysotile asbestos (12001295). Ceiling tile and pipe covering contained 30-40 percent chrysotile asbestos. No asbestos was found in dust settled on a file cabinet. Air fiber concentrations were below the limit of detection (3000 fibers per cubic meter) in the 12 samples taken. Air samples indicated that adequate outside air is entering the working areas of the building. The authors conclude that a potential hazard from asbestos existed if pipes or ceiling tiles were damaged or disturbed. Recommendations included treating and periodically inspecting the pipe covering, advising maintenance personnel of the hazards of asbestos and supplying proper disposable clothing and NIOSH approved respirators. Maintenance of the temperature below 78 degrees-F and relative humidity so that it is equal to or above 30 percent is also recommended.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; HETA-85-062-1652; Airborne-fibers; Air-contamination; Asbestos-fibers; Asbestos-dust; Carcinogens; Office-workers; Region-3; Hazard-Confirmed; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Author Keywords: Administration of Veterans Affairs, Except Health and Insurance; Asbestos; Office Buildings; Indoor Air Pollution; Cancer; Carbon Dioxide; Temperature; Relative Humidity
1332-21-4; 12001-29-5
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Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division