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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-84-477-1824, Bunge Corporation, Decatur, Alabama.

Arnold S; Crandall MS; Smith AB
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 84-477-1824, 1987 Aug; :1-44
In response to a request from the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union Local 3-906, an evaluation was made of symptoms of respiratory irritation and skin rashes in employees at the Bunge Corporation (SIC-0723) located in Decatur, Alabama. These employees were exposed to soybean dusts as raw dust, cleaner dust, extracted dust, or mixed dust. For 34 workers, the range of total raw dust exposure was 0.16 to 22.6mg/m3. One employee performing a cleanup operation in the head house was exposed to nuisance dust at 14.7mg/m3, near the Occupational Safety and Health Administration permissible exposure limit of 15mg/m3. Another worker was exposed to 22.6mg/m3 during a similar operation. At the time of study, use of personal respiratory protective equipment was by worker discretion. For workers exposed to raw dust, respirable dust ranged from 0.02 to 1.02mg/m3, with employees in the bean barge cleanup area and head house utility workers having the highest exposures. Exposures to cleaner soybean dust ranged from 0.18 to 0.72mg/m3. A high prevalence of lower respiratory symptoms was found, correlating with dust exposure, particularly raw soybean dust. Occupational asthma could not be confirmed or ruled out. It is recommended that engineering controls be installed in soybean receiving and shipping areas. Local exhaust ventilation and enclosing of specific areas are also highlighted. The authors recommend that use of respiratory protective gear be more actively pursued.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; HETA-84-477-1824; Region-4; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Respirable-dust; Dust-inhalation; Food-processing-workers; Plant-dusts; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Allergic-disorders; Lung-disorders; Dermatitis; Hazard-Unconfirmed; Author Keywords: Crop Preparation Services for Market; soybean dust; asthma; rhinitis; bronchitis; allergy
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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