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HHE determination report no. HHE-74-16-272, Marathon Battery Company, Waco, Texas.

Thoburn TW; Larsen LB
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HHE 74-16-272, 1976 Mar; :1-46
In response to a request from an employee representative, a study was made of possible hazardous working conditions at the Marathon Battery Company, Waco, Texas, where nickel/cadmium batteries were assembled. Samples of urine and pubic hair were taken for analysis. Medical questionnaires were completed and airborne concentrations of nickel (7440020), cadmium (7440439), cobalt (7440484), zinc (7440666), and iron (7439896) were determined. Workers drawn from four departments (330-A, 330-B, 340-A, and 340-B) where exposure was likely demonstrated higher levels of cadmium and nickel in their hair and urine samples than did workers from a control department where exposure was not likely. Workers in department 330-A were also among those with the highest proportion of spontaneously reported health problems thought to be job related, including upper respiratory irritation or exudation. The symptoms in these workers were possibly due to exposure to plate dust and tab welding fumes, with the latter being particularly suspect, as the group of tab welders showed higher hair and urine metal levels than all other workers. The authors conclude that workers were overexposed to cadmium and nickel. The authors recommend that the use of compressed air and sweeping for cleaning purposes be prohibited. Local exhaust ventilation should be provided for tab welding and cracker machines. All operations where nickel and cadmium exposures occur should be monitored. The exhaust systems which existed were inadequate and should be upgraded. Urine screening should be performed on a periodic basis. Chest x-rays should be part of the preemployment physical along with pulmonary function tests. Cleanliness and other general health matters should be stressed among the employees.
NIOSH-Author; HHE-74-16-272; Hazard-Confirmed; Region-6; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; Welding-industry; Welders-lung; Metal-fumes; Metal-dusts; Dust-inhalation; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Lung-function; Battery-manufacturing-industry; Nickel-compounds; Cadmium-dust; Author Keywords: battery; cadmium; nickel; hair; urine; upper respiratory irritation
7440-02-0; 7440-43-9; 7440-48-4; 7440-66-6; 7439-89-6
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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