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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-92-124-2289, Middletown Regional Hospital, Middletown, Ohio.
Cook CK; Malkin R; Blade LM
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 92-124-2289, 1993 Feb; :1-17
In response to a request from employees at the Middletown Regional Hospital (SIC-8062), Middletown, Ohio, an investigation was made into reported eye irritation in pharmacy workers. Eye irritation may have been related to exposure to ethylene-oxide (75218) (EtO), which was used in the adjacent Central Supply Department. Personal breathing zone and general area air monitoring were conducted to detect any hazardous gases present in the work area. The pharmacy occupied a 3,000 square foot area and employed 11 workers including pharmacists and technicians. Only low concentrations of EtO were found, ranging up to 0.02 parts per million (ppm). The relative humidity levels were 28 to 33%. Raising the humidity levels eased the dry, itching and burning of the eyes of the workers, but proved to be only a temporary solution. The authors conclude that EtO did not appear to be responsible for the health complaints; the cause of the health complaints was not determined. The authors recommend that deficiencies in the ventilation system and comfort levels of the environmental climate in the pharmacy area be corrected. Employees should use eye protection when mixing pharmaceuticals in the horizontal flow hood. Increased communication between management and employees should be established about concerns in the work place.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-92-124-2289; Hazard-Unconfirmed; Region-5; Pharmacy-workers; Health-care-facilities; Eye-irritants; Author Keywords: general medical hospital; ethylene oxide; gas sterilization; indoor air quality; pharmacy; relative humidity; central supply
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
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Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division