HHE Report No. HETA-96-0135-2612, Eagle Knitting Mills, Inc., Shawano, Wisconsin.
In response to a request from the UNITE Local 1567 union, a health hazard evaluation was conducted at the Eagle Knitting Mills (SIC- 2321), Shawano, Wisconsin. The facility manufactured a variety of garments such as sweat shirts, turtle neck shirts, t-shirts, and pants. About 85 workers were employed on site. The facility was housed in a single story building with nine ceiling exhaust fans used in the summer. Fabric types used include cotton, fleece, interlock, jersey, and lycra. Particular concern was expressed over exposures to formaldehyde (50000), spot remover, silicone spray, and fabric softener. Employees were experiencing asthma, wheezing, coughing, bronchial inflammation, rashes, boils, and skin inflammation. Nine personal breathing zone air samples contained trace airborne formaldehyde concentration. Exposures to perchloroethylene (127184), trichlorethylene (79016), toluene (108883), xylene, (1330207) and hexane (110543) were below occupational exposure limits. Medical interviews were conducted with 14 workers; all reported respiratory or upper airway complaints and half of them reported skin rashes. The authors conclude that workers were not overexposed to organic solvents, but that exposures to formaldehyde, perchloroethylene and trichloroethylene should be minimized. The authors recommend that efforts be made to reduce exposures to chemicals.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report No. HETA-96-0135-2612, 18 pages, 48 references