HHE Report No. HETA-87-369-1929, The Boston Herald, Boston, Massachusetts.
In response to a request from Local 600 of the Graphic Communications International Union an evaluation was made of exposures to Y-Polymer in the photoengraving department at the Boston Herald (SIC-2753), located in Boston Massachusetts. Employees had noted dizziness, shortness of breath, skin irritation and sensitization, and headaches. The Boston Herald produces a daily newspaper with circulation of 420,000 on weekdays and 300,000 on Sundays. The printing plate manufacturing process used a photographic system and the photoprepolymer, Y-Polymer, which contains a urethane based polyene, a methacrylate monomer, a photoinitiator, and a polythiol as its major components. Y-Polymer was mechanically dispensed to the Letterflex equipment from storage drums located beside each of these three machines. As Y-Polymer was spread out, ultraviolet irradiation began the hardening process. Isopropyl-alcohol (67630) was used to clean the Letterflex equipment at the end of a shift and to prepare the surface of the photographic negatives. At least some of the components of Y-Polymer were present as vapors in the workroom air. Isopropyl-alcohol levels were below acceptable standards. The authors recommend that the practice of lifting the cover to view the plates in the air knife section of the processing be discontinued, as this results in exposure to the Y-Polymer mist, that gloves and long sleeved garments be worn while operating and cleaning the Letterflex machines, that safety glasses or goggles be worn by machine operators when handling isopropyl-alcohol, that isopropyl-alcohol not be used to clean skin surfaces, that isopropyl-alcohol and Neutro-Stat containers by labeled properly, and that Letterflex machines be inspected periodically.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report No. HETA-87-369-1929, 18 pages, 7 references