This testimony concerned the efforts of NIOSH in making the jewelry industry a safe occupation for workers. Heavy emphasis has been placed in the southern New England area as there was an enormous concentration of the jewelry manufacturing industry in that region. It has been an industry of small shops. Workers in small shops have been at a greater risk than those in larger operations where more corporate attention is given to their safety. Workers in the jewelry industry were exposed to a wide variety of toxic substances including organic solvents, metal fumes, acid mists, and asbestos (1332214). They may also be exposed to noise and may be at high risk of physical injury including amputation as the result of working with improperly guarded machine tools and power presses. Among the most harmful effects of the commonly used solvents were damage to the central nervous system and harmful effects on the circulatory system. Exposure to metal fumes can result in metal fume fever. Lead (7439921) fumes may cause lead poisoning. Exposure to the other metals can result in irritation of the eyes, nose and respiratory tract along with lung cancer.
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