HHE Report No. HETA-91-0377-2383, Geneva Rubber Company, Geneva, Ohio.
In response to a request from the employees at the Geneva Rubber Company (SIC-3567), Geneva, Ohio, an evaluation was conducted of worker exposures to rubber fumes in the injection press area. The Company manufactured molded rubber parts for appliances used in marine, electrical, and automotive products. On each shift, 12 workers were assigned in the injection press area that included nine automatic steam heated injection presses. Several types of primer paints and paint thinners were used in the paint room adjacent to the injection press area. Low concentrations of tetrachloroethylene (127184), toluene (108883), 1,1,1-trichloroethane (71556) and xylene (1330207) were detected in the personal breathing zone samples for workers in the injection press area. In the degreaser area and paint room, tetrachloroethylene (127184), methyl-isobutyl-ketone (108101), methylene-chloride (75092), xylene, and methyl-ethyl- ketone (78933) were detected. Three workers in the paint room had a combined exposure to a solvent mixture which exceeded acceptable limits. Real time exposures to respirable dust were 0.016 and 0.017mg/m3. Workers experienced irritation of the mucous membranes, cough, shortness of breath, sinus congestion, and sinus congestion with drainage. The authors conclude that no specific substance or substances could be identified which clearly accounted for symptoms reported by workers. Paint room workers were overexposed to a mixture of solvents. The authors recommend that improvements be made in the ventilation systems, proper personal protective equipment be provided, and exposures to rubber chemicals be further evaluated.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report No. HETA-91-0377-2383, 23 pages, 17 references