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Phosphine exposures in grain elevators during fumigation with aluminum phosphide.
Zaebst DD; Blade LM; Burroughs GE; Morrelli-Schroth P; Woodfin WJ
Appl Ind Hyg 1988 May; 3(5):146-154
Exposure of grain elevator workers to phosphine (7803512) during fumigation treatments of grain with aluminum-phosphide was assessed. Four industrial hygiene surveys were conducted to evaluate exposures. Long term (full shift) breathing zone sampling and area monitoring were conducted. Short term measurements were also made to evaluate 2 to 5 minute peak exposures during certain cycles of activity. Phosphine exposure levels were analyzed by spectrophotometry. The use of aluminum-phosphide was associated with demonstrable and frequently excessive phosphine exposure; effects were observed even under conditions of very cold air temperature. Full shift personal exposure ranged from nondetectable to 1.6 parts per million (ppm), a value greater than five times the current OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit of 0.3ppm. Short term personal exposure during filling and emptying of automatic phosphide tablet dispensers ranged from 0.1 to 52ppm, with an average exposure of 2.5ppm. The recommended American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists short term exposure limit of 1ppm was exceeded by many of these samples. Exposure to phosphine could be partially attributed to uncontrolled point sources and lack of appropriate local exhaust ventilation. The authors recommend improved local exhaust ventilation, careful work practices, adequate training, and respiratory protection.
NIOSH-Author; Occupational-exposure; Exposure-levels; Pesticides; Toxic-gases; Phosphorus-compounds; Agricultural-chemicals; Agricultural-workers; Inorganic-compounds; Workplace-studies; Grain-elevator-workers
Issue of Publication
Applied Industrial Hygiene
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division