HHE Report No. HETA-89-213-1992, Blue Range Engineering Co., Butte, Montana.
Daniels-WJ; Hales-TR; Gunter-BJ
NIOSH 1989 Oct:21 pages
In response to a request from the Blue Range Engineering Company (SIC-1041), Butte, Montana, an evaluation was undertaken of employee exposure to lead (7439921) in the fire assay operations. One stage in fire assay involved separating noble metals in ore samples from lead in a process called cupelation. An 8 hour time weighted average lead concentration of 170 micrograms/cubic meter of air (microg/m3) was noted for the personal breathing zone sample for the assayist, which exceeded the limit of 50microg/m3 recommended by OSHA. The actual exposure may have been less since the employee was wearing respiratory protection. The result of area air sample analysis indicated that no other metals were present in significant amounts when compared to their environmental criteria. A medical survey indicated that workers were experiencing increased frequencies and intensities of symptoms consistent with lead poisoning compared to nonassay laboratory workers. Blood lead levels were significantly higher in assay laboratory workers than in other workers; one of two assay laboratory workers had a blood lead level above 50 micrograms/deciliter. The authors conclude that a potential for lead exposure did exist at the time of the study and provide recommendations for lowering this exposure.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Region-8; HETA-89-213-1992; Hazard-Confirmed; Lead-poisoning; Mineral-processing;
Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance;
NTIS Accession No.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report No. HETA-89-213-1992, 21 pages, 21 references