In-Depth industrial hygiene survey report of the Bunge Corporation, Kansas City, Kansas, report no. IWS-149-10.
Potential exposure of workers to phosphine (7803512) was examined during an in depth industrial hygiene survey at the Bunge Corp. (SIC- 5153), in Kansas City, Kansas where the gas was used as a grain fumigant. During the study, 14 men were employed at the facility. The facility received purchased grain and stored, blended and aerated or fumigated it before loading it for shipment. This elevator handled hard and soft wheat, corn, soybeans, and milo. Tablets of aluminum-phosphide (20859738) were added to the grain mass for fumigation. General dilution ventilation resulted from outside air entering the work areas through ventilation louvers; there was also a local exhaust ventilation system. Respirable dust concentrations in the work areas ranged from 0.18 to 3.21 milligrams/cubic meter and total dust from 2.6 to 29.9 milligrams/cubic meter. Air samples revealed that when the fumigant dispensers were being filled, workers in the area had significant exposure. At the time of the survey the relative humidity in the facility was high, permitting the reaction to phosphine to occur more readily. The levels of phosphine and respirable dust were reasonably low in the elevators, suggesting that the ventilation system was adequate. The author recommends that workers filling the dispenser with the aluminum-phosphide be required to wear personal protective equipment during this operation.