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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-90-389-2272, Dometic Corporation, La Grange, Indiana.

Seitz TA; Shults RA; Moss CE
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 90-389-2272, 1992 Nov; :1-13
In response to a request from the United Automobile, Aerospace, Agricultural Implement Workers of America, Local 871, an investigation was begun into radiofrequency (RF) radiation exposure at the Dometic Corporation (SIC-3089), La Grange, Indiana. Three female workers had experienced miscarriages during a 2 week period. The company assembled vinyl awnings for mobile home and recreational vehicles. RF heat sealers were used to seal vinyl sections. The seven heat sealers operate at a frequency of 27 megahertz, and were used on two shifts by about 30 workers. Electric field exposures in typical work locations were 6000 and 9000 volts per meter squared, and higher exposures were measured behind the heat sealers. The induced body current levels near a RF heat sealer ranged from 1100 to 1600 milliamps for a worker standing on the floor and 120 to 133 milliamps for a worker standing on a wooden pallet. In two of the three reported cases of spontaneous abortion, physicians diagnosed causes other than RF radiation as the primary force. In the third case there was no identified cause. The authors conclude that a potential hazard existed from exposure to electric fields during routine use of two RF heat sealer units. Body current levels indicate a need to interrupt the ground between the worker and the floor surface. The authors recommend measures to reduce RF exposures and induce body current levels.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-90-389-2272; Hazard-Confirmed; Region-5; Radiation-exposure; Nonionizing-radiation; Radio-waves; Reproductive-hazards; Occupational-exposure; Electromagnetic-fields; Author Keywords: plastic products, not elsewhere classified; RF radiation; heat sealer; body current; miscarriage
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Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division