NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-85-153-1714, K and M Company, Torrance, California.

Seligman PJ; Gunter B; Okawa M
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 85-153-1714, 1986 Jul; :1-37
Employees of the K-and-M Company (SIC-2782), Torrance, California requested an evaluation of a cluster of breast cancer cases among Hispanic women at the facility and a determination of the advisability of pregnant women working with radiofrequency (RF) heat sealers. The initial report listed six breast cancer cases since 1979. RF heat sealers are used at the facility for producing vinyl notebooks and three ring binders. The rate of reported spontaneous abortions was 8.8 percent, which does not exceed normal expectations for the general population (10 to 20 percent). When analyzed by department or work history, this rate was not above normal expectations. None of the 23 machines at the facility exceeded the OSHA Standards for electric and magnetic field exposure. Effects of low levels of RF exposure on pregnancies in humans are not known. The authors conclude that the incidence of breast cancer was higher than would be expected in the general public; reasons for this are unclear at present. The authors recommend additional shielding around 13 machines which failed to meet the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists magnetic field Threshold Limit Value of 0.27 amperes squared per meter squared. A medical surveillance program was also recommended which would be tailored to the expected degree of employee usage of RF equipment and potential for exposure to RF energy.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; Region-9; HETA-85-153-1714; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Heat-exposure; Hazard-Unconfirmed; Reproductive-system-disorders; Plastic-seals; Plastic-films; Plastic-products; Reproductive-effects; Author Keywords: Blankbooks, Looseleaf Binders and Devices; Radiofrequency Heat-Sealers; Breast Cancer; Spontaneous Abortions
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
SIC Code
Source Name
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