HHE report no. HHE-80-167-1078, Stephenson and Lawyer, Inc., Grand Rapids, Michigan.
In response to a request from employees at Stephenson and Lawyer, Inc. (SIC-3079), Grand Rapids, Michigan, an evaluation was made of possible health hazards in the hot wire cutting areas. Workers in the hot wire cutting areas reported breathing difficulties, nausea, headaches, coughing, sinus problems, and chest tightness. At this facility, sheets of polyurethane and polyethylene foam were cut, sized, corrugated, and bonded to form gaskets, filters, cushions, and surgical products. The hot wire process was used to cut, bore, flange, and engrave foam parts. Exposures were found to the following substances: 1,1,1-trichloroethane (71556), 0.7 to 15.2 parts per million (ppm); methylene-chloride (75092), 0.2 to 18.6ppm; ethyl-acetate (141786), 0.1 to 0.5ppm; benzene (71432), 0.05ppm; trichloroethylene (79016), 0.1 to 0.5ppm; toluene (108883), 0.1 to formaldehyde (50000) and other aldehydes were not detectable; chloroethane (75003), 0.01 to 0.08ppm; and toluene-diisocyanate (584849) (TDI), 0.0002 to 1.03ppm. The authors conclude that a health hazard probably did not exist in the hot wire cutting area at the time of the survey. The authors recommend the following: a worker training program; reporting of symptoms by workers; cleaning and checking exhaust systems; equipping cutting booth exhaust ducts with easily removed and cleaned filters; and periodic physical examinations for TDI sensitization in workers.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report No. HE-80-167-1078