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Technical assistance report no. TA-76-54, Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Cave Study.
Gunter EP; Meyer CR
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 76-54, 1978 May; :1-15
In response to a request from the Department of the Interior, a medical evaluation was made of employees working in eight caves in the National Park System. Concern was directed at possible radon (10043922) daughter radiation exposures. Cave employees were given a questionnaire requesting past occupational exposure as well as past pulmonary history and tobacco consumption. Analyses were made of two separate sputum specimens from each worker. The cohort consisted of 90 males and 35 females, with median ages ranging from 23.5 to 34 years depending on the cave studied. Only a few of 35 comparisons within NIOSH had any consistent abnormality of significance. No widespread pulmonary cytological abnormalities were found in the cohort. The authors conclude that there is no apparent respiratory effect at this time. They recommend routine monitoring of cave employees older than 40 to 45 years of age who are cigarette smokers and who have worked in caves for more than 5 years. Those over 45 years of age and employed in caves for 5 years or more should receive high priority for monitoring regardless of smoking status. The authors recommend that all employees be encouraged to stop smoking, that a general preemployment physical be given including baseline sputum cytology and chest x-ray studies, that a yearly examination be given with laboratory studies on the aforementioned high risk individuals, and that cave air should not be used for air conditioning.
NIOSH-Publication; Hazard-Unconfirmed; TA-76-54; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Pulmonary-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Sputum-cytology; Cigarette-smoking; Radon-daughters; Radiation-exposure
Field Studies; Technical Assistance
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Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division