An on site visit was made to Bell Helicopter Textron (SIC-3721), Fort Worth, Texas to observe the processes involving adhesives, with emphasis on the method of application and associated controls to protect workers. Adhesives were used to make a number of helicopter components. In making rotor blades and body panels a thin exterior skin was bonded to a lightweight core structure. Body panel inserts were bonded and sealed in the receiving holes. Plexiglas windows were bonded to metal frames, and a sealant applied on body seams. Adhesives were also used during upholstering. One of two different primers was applied. Both were low solids epoxy solutions in organic solvents. Chlorothene-NU, a commercial formulation of methyl- chloroform (71556), served as a solvent for one primer while the solvent for the other primer was a mixture of methyl-ethyl-ketone (78933) and 2-nitropropane (79469). After a cured panel was removed, the form was cleaned and coated with a release agent, mostly organic solvent. Sealants used were polysulfides with toluene (108883) as the solvent. This visit suggested that potential hazards were well controlled. The author concludes that if the aerospace industry were to be selected for in depth study, this facility would be a good candidate for further examination. The author recommends that a less hazardous solvent than 2- nitropropane be used.
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