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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-95-0331 and 95-0334-2626, Boston Harbor Tunnel Project, Winthrop, Massachusetts.
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 95-0331-0334-2626, 1997 Jan; :1-16
In response to a request from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Infectious Diseases, an investigation was begun into the incidence of respiratory problems among tunnel construction workers at Boston Harbor Tunnel Project (SIC-1622), Winthrop, Massachusetts. Requests were also received from OSHA, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, contractors and labor organizations. A review was conducted of medical records and a medical questionnaire was used to evaluate the nature and extent of respiratory illness among the tunnel workers. Environmental information was gathered to characterize the tunnels, tunnel ventilation systems, and microbiological reservoirs. Analysis of bulk samples for total colony counts and identification of bacteria and fungi revealed reservoirs of microbiological contamination; however, nothing revealed a relation to infectious illness or allergic type responses among the workers. Conditions in both tunnels were favorable for the growth of Gram negative and Gram positive bacteria. Medical records were incomplete and there was a poor response to questionnaires. The author concludes that the respiratory illnesses appeared to represent a spectrum of clinical disease with no identifiable common source or etiology. No workplace health hazard was associated with respiratory illness among the tunnel workers.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-95-0331-0334-2626; Hazard-Unconfirmed; Region-3; Tunnel-workers; Tunneling; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Respiratory-system-disorders; Microorganisms; Bacterial-infections; Epidemiology; Author Keywords: Bridge, Tunnel, and Elevated Highway Construction; bronchitis; flu; microbiological contamination; pneumonia; respiratory illness
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division