Health Hazard Evaluation Report, HETA 2001-0034-2843: US Airways Aircraft Support Center, Charlotte, North Carolina.
On October 23, 2000, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a management request for a health hazard evaluation (HHE) at the US Airways aircraft support center in Charlotte, North Carolina. The request asked NIOSH to determine if exposures resulting from a process change involving an industrial cleaner presented a health hazard to workers. Specific areas of concern included the aircraft wheel and brake maintenance departments where the primary industrial cleaner used in these areas had been replaced with a new product. No health complaints were reported in the HHE request, however subsequent information indicated that some employees had reportedly experienced health problems such as irritation and nose bleeds when the cleaner was first introduced. On February 5, 2001, NIOSH researchers conducted a site visit at the US Airways facility. During the site visit, integrated personal air sampling was conducted to evaluate employee exposures to total particulate and sodium metasilicate, the primary active ingredient in the industrial cleaner, and two glycol ethers (dipropylene glycol butyl ether (DPGBE), and tripropylene glycol methyl ether (TPGME)) that were also a component of the cleaner. Samples were collected from workers in the wheel pre-wash, bearing wash, wheel tear down, brake tear down, and the brake cleaning sinks.