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Health hazard evaluation report: MTA-80-109-110, Patriot Coal Company Laboratory, Kingwood, West Virginia.

Jankovic J
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, MTA 80-109-110, 1980 Jun; :1-14
An industrial hygiene survey was conducted at Patriot Coal Company Laboratory, Kingwood, West Virginia. The evaluation was requested by the District 3 Director for the Mine Safety and Health Administration to determine if solvent vapors emitted from the float and sink (FAS) apparatus during routine FAS testing of coal presented a health hazard. Ambient air and breathing zone samples from two laboratory technicians operating the FAS apparatus were collected and analyzed for perchloroethylene (127184), ethylene- dibromide (106934), and varsol (64475850) by infrared analyzers. The work practices of the two technicians were observed. Perchloroethylene concentrations measured 10 feet from the FAS apparatus ranged from 110 to 194 parts per million (ppm). Perchloroethylene concentrations in the breathing zone samples from the two technicians averaged 149 and 101ppm. All perchloroethylene exposures exceeded the NIOSH recommended limit of 100ppm. The excess perchloroethylene exposures were attributed to improper work practices such as having to insert one's head inside the hood over the FAS apparatus during testing and placing coal samples wet with perchloroethylene on the floor until they could be placed in the oven for drying. The hood over the apparatus had inadequate face velocity to control perchloroethylene exposures. No ethylene- dibromide or varsol vapors were detected. The author concludes that employees in the coal testing laboratory were overexposed to perchloroethylene as a result of improper work practices and inadequate ventilation. Recommendations include conducting FAS testing under a properly designed, operating local exhaust ventilation system, substituting another chemical for perchloroethylene if possible, requiring respirators and other protective equipment to be worn when handling perchloroethylene, and giving all workers at the facility preplacement and annual medical examinations.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Region-3; MTA-80-109-110; Hazard-Confirmed; Laboratory-workers; Organic-solvents; Occupational-exposure; Chlorinated-ethylenes; Work-practices; Industrial-hygiene; Exhaust-ventilation; Author Keywords: Perchloroethylene; PCE; Tetrachloroethylene
127-18-4; 106-93-4; 64475-85-0
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Field Studies; Technical Assistance
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NIOSH Division
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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