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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-86-273-1928, Mid-America Dairymen, Inc., Monett, Missouri.

Burr GA; Cantor FL; Anastas MY
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 86-273-1928, 1988 Sep; :1-49
In response to a request from management at the Mid-America Dairymen, Inc. (SIC-2026) company, located in Monett, Missouri, an evaluation was made of possible hazardous working conditions at this site. Five workers had become ill with respiratory complaints between August of 1985 and March of 1986. Symptoms included dry cough, chest tightness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and weight loss. Of six full time employees in the electrodialysis (ED) stack maintenance department, four were diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP). One worker among 12 in the cheese finishing department was diagnosed with asthma. The two story facility employs about 75 workers in the production of cheese curd, whey protein, and powdered milk. The study was not able to identify a specific agent or antigen responsible for the illnesses; however, there was a clear association in time and place between cleaning stacks of electrodialysis membranes and the HP in four workers diagnosed with the disease. Stacks of ED membranes waiting to be cleaned can provide an ideal growth medium for microbiological species, as was demonstrated from cultures of bulk samples. While air samples for microorganisms collected in August and December of 1986 did not reveal a causative agent, the conditions under which they were collected may have been different from working conditions the previous fall and winter. The authors recommend that engineering and work practice changes be introduced to reduce aerosol generation and inhalation, that a system be developed to correlate changes in stack deposits with production and season variables, that the time that stacks remain idle before cleaning be reduced, and that periodic medical monitoring of full time stack maintenance workers be implemented including symptom history, chest examination, and pulmonary function tests.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; Hazard-Confirmed; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Region-7; HETA-86-273-1928; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Aerosol-particles; Molds; Fungi; Bacteria; Ventilation-systems; Respiratory-hypersensitivity; Author Keywords: Fluid Milk; hydrochloric acid; mold; electrodialysis; viable air sampling; bioaerosols; fungi; bacteria; thermophilic actinomycetes; ventilation; hypersensitivity pneumonitis
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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