HETA Report No. TA-78-35, PHS Indian Health Center, Fort Washakie, Wyoming.
In response to a request from the Public Health Service (PHS), an investigation was made of the degree of mercury (7439976) exposure occurring at the PHS Indian Health Center, Fort Washakie, Wyoming. Two dental operatories were located at the Center. Examination of the two operatories indicated that good work practices had not been followed when mixing the mercury and metal in preparation of dental fillings. Droplets of mercury were everywhere inside these rooms, as well as being distributed to a high level in the air, ranging from 0.02 to greater than 1.0mg/m3. A high degree of mercury contamination was also present in the examining rooms as a result of leaking sphygmomanometers. Droplets of mercury were visible on the baseboards, the carpets and under the carpets. Symptoms experienced by those working there included headaches, blood in feces and sputum, mental depression, stomach cramps, and tremors. The author recommends that measures be taken to reduce exposures, including decontamination of contaminated areas, medical evaluation of exposed workers, replacing sphygmomanometers, use of prepackaged amalgams, using suitable floor coverings, yearly measurement of mercury levels in the operatories, staff education on the hazards of mercury exposure, and yearly biological monitoring.
NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report No. TA-78-35, 4 pages, 2 references