Health hazard evaluation report no. HETA-94-0124-2470, Whirlpool, Corp., Evansville, Indiana.
In response to a confidential request from an employee, a health hazard evaluation was conducted at Whirlpool Corporation (SIC-3632), Evansville, Indiana. Potential chemical exposures were evaluated in the foam insulation injection area, refrigerator door painting area, degreaser area, the Bonderite metal cleaning operation, the plastic molding extrusion area, and the thermal forming area. Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke was also considered. The facility manufactured components and assembled several models of household refrigerators, producing over 5,000 refrigerators a day with a workforce of about 5,000 hourly employees. Monomeric 4,4'- diphenylmethane-diisocyanate (101688) (MDI) levels were less than the NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) of 50 micrograms/cubic meter (microg/m3) of air. Total isocyanate reactive group concentrations ranged from 2 to 13microg/m3. Personal breathing zone levels for 1,1-dichloro-1-fluoroethane (1717006) (HCFC-141b) ranged from 2 to 9 parts per million. The authors conclude that a health hazard from overexposure to MDI or HCFC-141b was not found. However, MDI exposure at levels below existing criteria may cause health effects in some employees. The authors recommend that additional training for fork lift truck operator may be necessary. Tobacco smoking should be eliminated at the facility.