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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-81-003-980, Babcock and Wilcox Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Zey JN; Ahrenholz SH; Klemme JC
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 81-003-980, 1981 Oct; :1-9
In response to a request from the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Union, Local 1849, an evaluation was made of possible hazardous working conditions at Babcock and Wilcox Company (SIC- 3317), Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Concern centered around possible exposures to biocides, dispersants and antiscaling agents added to circulating water systems which cool four annealing furnaces, two reheat furnaces and one air compressor. One employee each 6 months was assigned the task of adding these substances which required about 1 hour of his time, three times a week. Reported symptoms included headaches, lightheadedness, vomiting, muscle aches, fatigue, nose bleeds, mood fluctuations, alcohol intolerance, increased thirst, increased urination, nausea, blurred vision, dizziness, diarrhea, skin rash, and facial flushing. Sampling for dimethylformamide (68122) (DMF) indicated airborne concentrations ranging from below the level of detection to 1.01 parts per million (ppm). Concentrations for carbon-monoxide (630080) ranged from 10 to 15ppm. Levels of nitrogen oxides were below the limit of detection. The authors conclude that a health hazard did not exist at the time of the evaluation. The authors recommend that chemicals be moved into the enclosure for storage and that containers not be permitted to stand open. Protective equipment should be stored in a separate cabinet. Employees should be trained in the proper handling of chemicals. An upgrading of the respirator program was suggested. Employees should be educated concerning severe medical consequences of skin absorption of DMF and be alerted that even small amounts of alcohol consumption after working with DMF can result in some of the reported symptoms.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-81-003-980; Region-5; Hazard-Unconfirmed; Cleaning-compounds; Formamides; Organic-solvents; Solvent-vapors; Eye-irritants; Skin-irritants; Skin-exposure; Protective-clothing; Author Keywords: steel pipe and tubes; biocide; dispersant; anti-scaling; circulating water system; dimethylformamide; carbon monoxide; nitrogen dioxide; nitric oxide; hyperglycemia; alcohol intolerance
68-12-2; 630-08-0
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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