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Exposure of workers engaged in furniture stripping to methylene chloride as determined by environmental and biological monitoring.

McCammon CS Jr.; Glaser RA; Wells VE; Phipps FC; Halperin WE
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 1991 May; 6(5):371-379
The results of an industrial hygiene survey made of five furniture stripping shops were presented. The 14 workers monitored were male Caucasians, ranging in age from 26 to 64 years. Five were smokers. While environmental concentrations of methylene-chloride (75092) (MC) did not exceed the current OSHA standard of 500 parts per million (ppm) at any of the shops monitored, the proposed ACGIH standard of 50ppm was exceeded for ten (71%) of the 14 workers studied. The concentrations of all analytes monitored were highest for those workers most directly involved with the application of MC, strippers, followed by those workers engaged in washing the newly stripped wood, then by those in adjacent areas primarily engaged in refinishing operations. Post exposure blood and breath concentrations of MC paralleled the environmental concentrations, whereas breath carbon-monoxide (630080) and blood carboxyhemoglobin concentrations did not until smokers were removed from the data analysis. Poor work practices were observed in each of the workshops studied. Many of the furniture strippers smoked on the job, thus compounding the risk of cardiovascular stress due to carbon-monoxide uptake. The time weighed average MC exposure concentrations were quadratically related to post shift alveolar breath and blood concentration of MC. The authors conclude that furniture strippers may be exposed to high concentrations of MC and may also absorb significant amounts of solvent while working with MC based furniture stripping solvents. The authors recommend measures to assist in improving worker exposure such as substitution of less hazardous materials, engineering controls, process changes, work practices, and the use of personal protective equipment including respirators.
NIOSH-Author; Organic-solvents; Solvent-vapors; Organic-vapors; Furniture-repair; Furniture-workers; Occupational-exposure; Chlorinated-hydrocarbons; Toxic-gases; Skin-exposure; Cigarette-smoking
75-09-2; 630-08-0
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Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: September 11, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division