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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-90-0355-2449, Actors' Equity Association/The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc., New York, New York.

Burr GA; Driscoll R; Wilcox TG
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 90-0355-2449, 1994 Aug; :1-59
In response to a request from the Actors' Equity Association and the League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc., an investigation was begun into possible hazards associated with the use of theatrical smoke in Broadway productions (SIC-7922), New York, New York. Some of the more commonly used chemicals to produce the theatrical smokes include ethylene-glycol (107211), propylene-glycol (57556), 1,3-butylene-glycol (107880), diethylene-glycol (111466), and triethylene-glycol (112276). Four Broadway productions were monitored for hazardous levels of the smokes produced. Actors completed questionnaires concerning the frequency and severity of irritant and respiratory symptoms associated with exposure to theatrical smoke. The authors conclude that there was no evidence that the smoke at the levels found in the theaters studied was the cause of occupational asthma among performers. The authors note that it is possible that some of the constituents of the smoke could have irritative or mucous membrane drying properties in some individuals. The authors suggest that exposure be minimized by relocating machines to avoid exposing actors to the direct, concentrated release of the aerosols, minimizing the amount of smoke needed for the production, and using only fog fluids which have been approved by the manufacturers of the machines. Only food grade or high grade glycols should be used. Glycol based systems should be designed to heat the fog fluids to the lowest temperature needed to achieve proper aerosolization.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-90-0355-2449; Region-2; Hazard-Unconfirmed; Glycols; Entertainment-industry; Entertainment-workers; Performing-artists; Aerosol-dispensers; Aerosol-particles; Occupational-exposure; Author Keywords: Theatrical Producers and Miscellaneous Theatrical Services; ethylene glycol; propylene glycol; 1,3-butylene glycol; triethylene glycol; oil mist; fog; aldehydes; formaldehyde; respiratory; irritation; pulmonary function test; questionnaire; actors
107-21-1; 57-55-6; 107-88-0; 111-46-6; 112-27-6
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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: October 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division