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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-87-266-1860, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Washington, D.C.

Ahrenholz SH
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 87-266-1860, 1988 Jan; :1-43
In response to a request from representatives of the Technical Services Division, U.S. Department of the Treasury (SIC-9311), Bureau of Engraving and Printing (SIC-2754) in Washington, D.C., a study was made of possible hazardous exposures to contaminants in inks supplied by currency ink contract bidders and of the Bureau's evaluation methods. Several incidents of irritant symptoms in workers had occurred. Personal and area air samples were analyzed for acetaldehyde (75070), acrolein (107028), formaldehyde (50000), butanal (123728), pentanal (110623), and hexanal (66251). Area formaldehyde samples ranged from 0.1 to 0.2 parts per million (ppm), and personal samples ranged from 0.3 to 0.6ppm. Butanal levels ranged from not detectable to 0.5ppm; pentanal and hexane were present only in trace amounts. No samples contained any detectable levels of acetaldehyde or acrolein. Area samples for acetone (67641), 1,1,1-trichloroethane (71556), and toluene (108883) were negligible. Mineral-spirits (8030306) were detected up to 63mg/m3 and kerosene (8008206) up to 12mg/m3. The only hazardous condition found was exposure to formaldehyde at levels which have been shown to cause irritation. The author concludes that workers are exposed to potential irritant levels of formaldehyde vapor. Recommendations are made regarding modification of study protocol and analytical method, ventilation systems, monitoring air quality, speeding up offgassing of aldehydes from printed currency, and substitution of formaldehyde containing resins.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; HETA-87-266-1860; Region-3; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Hazard-Confirmed; Printing-industry; Printing-inks; Air-sampling; Respiratory-irritants; Sampling-methods; Author Keywords: Commercial Printing, Gravure; Public Finance, Taxation, and Monetary Policy; currency production; acetaldehyde; acrolein; formaldehyde; butanal; pentanal; hexanal; currency examination
75-07-0; 107-02-8; 50-00-0; 123-72-8; 110-62-3; 66-25-1; 67-64-1; 71-55-6; 108-88-3; 8030-30-6; 8008-20-6
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
SIC Code
2754; 9311
Source Name
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