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Technical assistance report no. TA-78-25, Purex Corporation, London, Ohio.

Gilles D; Meyer C
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, TA 78-25, 1978 Jun; :1-13
In response to a request by the Purex Corporation, London, Ohio, which manufactures steel wool soap pads (SIC-3291), a follow up study was made of a possible health hazard at the facility. Personal and area air samples were analyzed for total and respirable dust, and 25 workers from the original evaluation were tested for pulmonary function. Eleven workers (ten female, one male, mean age 44 years) had abnormal pulmonary function for at least one tested parameter. No medical or smoking related explanation could be found in six. All but two samples of total soap dust measured on three shifts were below the Threshold Limit Value (TLV) for total nuisance dust (10mg/m3), and all were below the TLV for respirable nuisance dust (5mg/m3). Total dust samples ranged from 1.1 to 18.9mg/m3 and concentrations of respirable dust ranged from 0.18 to 0.73 mg/m3. The authors conclude, as did the earlier study, that highly alkaline soap dust may cause reactions in susceptible individuals due to irritation. The following recommendations are presented: existing ventilation should be operative at all times with measurements taken continuously to ensure that dust exposure is minimized, ventilation should be revised to allow for air recirculation and filtration, employees should use personal protective equipment appropriately, employees should be educated in work procedures and safety matters, a vacuum system should be used in cleanup rather than sweeping, and a medical surveillance program should be initiated.
NIOSH-Author; TA-78-25; Hazards-Unconfirmed; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Region-5; Dust-control; Detergent-industry; Detergents; Soap-products; Inhalants; Dust-inhalation; Lung-function; Air-sampling
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Field Studies; 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