HHE Report No. HETA-87-349-2022, Rockcastle Manufacturing, Mount Vernon, Kentucky.
In response to a request from an authorized employee representative, an investigation was made of possible exposures to hazardous substances at the Rockcastle Manufacturing Company (SIC-2328), Mount Vernon, Kentucky. Employees had complained of headaches, burning eyes, nausea, vomiting, fainting, and adverse reproductive effects. The facility fabricated men's uniform work pants. There were about 190 production workers, most of whom operated sewing machines. Other workers operated presses, ovens, or worked as cutters, spreaders, glue sprayers, bundlers, and maintenance workers. Formaldehyde (50000) air sampling ranged from 0.14 parts per million (ppm) to 0.46ppm in five personal breathing zone samples and from from eight fabric samples ranged from 163 to 1430 micrograms of formaldehyde per gram of fabric (microg/g). Organic vapor air samples were collected and only 1,1,1-trichloroethane (71556) was detected, with all values being below 0.3ppm. Total particulate concentrations ranged from 0.17 to 2.12mg/m3. Questionnaire survey results indicated an elevated rate of birth defects, stillbirths, and premature births in women employed at the site while pregnant. The authors conclude that workers were exposed to low levels of formaldehyde, compatible with reported symptoms of eye, respiratory and skin irritation, and headache. The authors recommend that specific measures be taken to further reduce exposures. Potential ergonomic hazards and future reproductive outcomes of employees should be evaluated.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report No. HETA-87-349-2022, 33 pages, 24 references