HHE Report No. HETA-90-223-2211, Thomson Consumer Electronics, Marion, Indiana.
In response to a request from the Corporate Medical Consultant to Thomson Consumer Electronics (SIC-3673), Marion, Indiana, a study was undertaken of an illness outbreak in workers at the facility. There were about 1900 workers at the facility, which produced television picture tubes. Production occurred over three shifts, 6 days a week. Charcoal tube sampling indicated the presence of acetone (67641) n-amyl-acetate (628637), n-butyl-acetate (123864), isoamyl-acetate (123922), toluene (108883), 1,1,1-trichloroethane (71556), and trichloroethylene (79016). No contaminants were detected in the bag samples of air collected from the in/house compressed air system. One or more symptoms were reported by 593 (82%) of the workers. Those most commonly reported included headache (68%), sore throat (53%), fatigue (51%), eye irritation (50%), itchy skin (47%), irritated nose (45%), dizziness (45%), unusual taste in mouth (45%), unusual smell (41%) and cough. The authors conclude that symptoms were consistent with stress related health complaints in occupational settings. Concentrations of chemicals measured in the facility would not be expected to produce the effects seen in this outbreak. The authors recommend that trichloroethylene degreasing units be replaced with equipment which uses a less toxic degreasing agent. The facility should hire a full time industrial hygienist.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report No. HETA-90-223-2211, 32 pages, 26 references