Health hazard evaluation report: HETA 80-124,230-1168, Aluminum Company of America, Alcoa, Tennessee (revised April 1984).
On May 2, 1980, NIOSH received a request for the United Steelworkers of America, Local 309, for a Health Hazard Evaluation at the Aluminum Company of America, Alcoa, Tennessee. The request sought evaluation of possible exposures to asbestos at the ingot preheating furnaces, to possible exposures to asbestos at the ingot preheating furnaces, to chlorine gas at the ingot remelt and casting areas, and to rolling oil at the hot mill area. A second request, received on August 25, 1980, sought evaluation of possible exposures to rolling oil at the cold mill area, to solvent vapors at the coil finish and paint lines to caustic mist at the caustic etch line, and to lead in the battery repair area. On May 20-21 and September 8-9 1980 NIOSH investigators conducted investigations. On the days of the sampling, the following level of worker exposure were measured: chlorine gas, rolling oil mist, ethylene glycol, kerosene, sodium hydroxide, and xylene. None of these values exceeded the appropriate OSHA and ACGIH standards. The medical evaluation showed cigarette smoking to be associated with increased reporting of shortness of breath with exertion, cough, phlegm production, wheezing, and obstructive pulmonary function changes. Cold miss workers showed evidence of restrictive lung changes relative to hot ingot workers. This would be consistent with evidence that exposure to mineral oil mist can cause lung changes, but further investigation would be required to verify this finding. Hot ingot workers intermittently exposed to chlorine did not show evidence of chronic obstructive lung changes. However, because less than half of the group participated in the study, possible hypotheses relating to long-term effects of chlorine exposure could not be thoroughly evaluated. No evidence of neurological problems due to rolling oil exposure was found.
Hazard-Unconfirmed; Region-4; Asbestos; Smoking; Steel-mills;
Author Keywords: Aluminum Shut, Plate, and Foil; rolling oil; chlorine; sodium hydroxide; asbestos; nitrosamines; PNAs; perchloroethylene