HHE Report No. HETA-87-238-1814, Kountry Kreations, Towanda, Pennsylvania.
In response to a request from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, an evaluation was made of complaints associated with handling imported grape vine wreaths at the Kountry Kreations (SIC-3980) in Towanda, Pennsylvania. Kountry Kreations produced decorative craft items for the wholesale market. The wreaths were imported from Taiwan. Complaints from employees included headache, sore throat, watering eyes, extreme tiredness, blurry vision, sore neck, nausea, upset stomach, chills, loss of concentration, rapid heartbeat, rash, and leg twitches. Various aliphatic hydrocarbons, alkyl substituted benzenes, naphthalenes, and styrene (100425) were detected in bulk sample analyses. No aromatic chlorinated pesticides were detected nor was there evidence of methylene-bromide. The author concludes that a potential health hazard existed due to improper ventilation at the facility. The introduction of fresh, outside air was insufficient and the inadequate containment of contaminant producing processes were the major contributors to the problem. The author recommends worker education of the hazards associated with craft materials and proper work habits. Specific mention was made that the glue melting pots be operated in the temperature range which was specified by the manufacturer of the adhesives.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report No. HETA-87-238-1814, 18 pages, 8 references