Health hazard evaluation report: HETA 2000-0105-2794, Wampler Foods, Inc., Hinton, Virginia.
On January 6, 2000, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a management request for a health hazard evaluation (HHE) at the Wampler Foods, Inc. turkey processing plant in Hinton, Virginia. The request indicated that employees in the First Processing department (Evisceration, chiller area, Canner Dock, Sizing) were experiencing health problems possibly related to the use of ''superchlorinated'' water. Reported symptoms were intermittent eye, nose, and throat irritation. Potential exposures included sodium hypochlorite, ammonia, chlorine, and chloramines. NIOSH was asked to evaluate the work environment in the First Processing department, assess potential exposures to workplace contaminants, and make control recommendations. On March 1-3, 2000, NIOSH researchers conducted a site visit at the turkey processing plant. On March 2 and 3, 2000, area air samples for ammonia and chloramines were collected at six locations in the First Processing department and one control area (Packaging department). Instantaneous air samples for chlorine were collected at various times and locations. Water sampling data (chlorine, pH, temperature) from the product chillers was obtained, and a symptom questionnaire was administered to 65 Wampler employees.