Short term airborne exposures to oxygenated fuel and specific emission sources and work practices contributing to worker exposure were investigated at service stations in New Jersey as part of health hazard evaluations. During November and December 1994, exposure to total hydrocarbons (THCs) (as gasoline) and the fuel additive methyl-tert-butyl-ether (1634044) (MTBE) was measured among service station attendants at two retail automotive service stations in Newark, New Jersey. Formulated gasoline contained 15% MTBE, and both stations had stage-II vapor recovery systems. Video exposure monitoring was conducted during routine refueling duties. Full shift time weighted average (TWA) sampling indicated low exposure concentrations for THCs and MTBE. However, real time monitoring results indicated elevated short terms of peak THC concentrations may be more than 130 times greater than the TWA concentrations for 1 and 2 second durations. Similar inferences can be drawn regarding MTBE peak exposures. Conservative estimated peak exposure may be as high as 70 parts per million (ppm). Proximity to the gasoline pump was the greatest contributor to exposure. Based on the frequency of elevated peak THC exposures measured, it was concluded that peak exposures to oxygenated gasoline occurred during refueling. The current recovery systems did not appear to be effective in reducing these exposures.
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