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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-83-210-1887, Roofing Construction, Houston, Texas.
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 83-210-1887, 1988 Apr; :1-36
In response to a request from the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers, an evaluation was made of possible hazardous working conditions at roofing (SIC-3444) sites in Houston, Texas. Roofing systems evaluated included: tear off and application of a coal tar pitch system; tear off and application of a petroleum asphalt system; and application of a single ply modified asphalt system (Koppers). Personal exposures to hazardous materials were highest in the coal tar pitch operation with 85 percent of the coal tar pitch samples having detectable levels of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PNAs). Arithmetic mean values for total PNAs and total particulate samples at the coal tar pitch site were 13.1 and 853 micrograms/cubic meter (microg/m3) when the roof was wetted and 63 and 3530microg/m3 meter when the roof was not wetted. At a Koppers site, perchloroethylene (127184) concentrations ranged from undetectable to 2.39mg/m3. Medical evaluation indicated eye and skin irritation and lesions in workers. The authors conclude that workers were exposed to potentially hazardous concentrations of coal tar products at coal tar pitch and petroleum asphalt roofing sites. The author recommends specific measures to reduce exposures, including better personal hygiene, use of personal protective equipment, staying upwind of dust and fumes, wetting roofs before tear off, use of sunscreens and avoiding work during the hours of greatest sun intensity.
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