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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-86-447-1919, Estherville Foods, Inc., Estherville, Iowa.

Smith AB; Newman MA
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 86-447-1919, 1988 Aug; :1-41
In response to a request from the president of Sonstegard Foods, Inc., a study was undertaken of possible hazardous working conditions due to exposure to raw egg products at the Estherville Foods, Inc. (SIC-2017), located in Estherville, Iowa. The facility processed raw eggs into powdered whole egg, powdered egg yolk, and liquid egg white. Workers experienced asthma/like symptoms including wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Ambient air concentrations for total protein were less than 1.2mg/m3. Ambient air concentrations of ovalbumin, ovomucoid, and lysozyme were less than 360, 243, and 40 micrograms/cubic meter, respectively. Protein concentration in the sanitizer water from the egg washers increased from 0.27 to 5.6 milligrams/milliliter over the course of a work shift. Immunoglobulin-E mediated occupational asthma from egg protein exposure was determined in ten workers; three had evidence of bronchial lability. A major source of egg protein may be the visible aerosol escaping from the freshly washed eggs. Each wash water was recirculated for the 5 hour production run, and contained contaminants from broken eggs. These mists were also seen to escape into the transfer room. Better control methods at this juncture will reduce exposure levels. The author concludes that a health hazard existed from exposure to airborne egg protein. The author recommends that exposure to egg protein be reduced, and at risk workers be screened.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-86-447-1919; Region-7; Hazard-Confirmed; Food-processing-industry; Bronchial-asthma; Allergic-reactions; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Immune-reaction; Author Keywords: poultry and egg processing; egg protein; egg dust; occupational asthma; aeroallergens; chloride ions; acid gases
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Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
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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