Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2000-0423-2858, Ogden Aviation Services, St. Louis, Missouri.
In September of 2000, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a request for a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) from employees at Ogden Aviation Services located at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri. The employees expressed concerns that potential exposure to jet fuel and aircraft exhaust may be related to health symptoms such as headache and respiratory problems. On October 19, 2000, an initial site visit was performed by a NIOSH industrial hygienist and medical officer to conduct opening talks with management, union officials, and employees, as well as to observe the work area and practices. A return visit was completed December 11 and 12, 2000, during which quantitative sampling was performed for major compounds of the jet fuel, such as benzene, toluene, and xylene. Carbon monoxide (CO) exposure was also monitored. Confidential interviews with employees were held to discuss possible work-related health concerns. Results of the personal breathing zone sampling for jet fuel compounds were below applicable exposure limits set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The same was true for the sampling conducted to determine full-shift CO exposures. Two individuals, however, each had one peak exposure above the NIOSH recommended ceiling limit for CO, most likely resulting from their proximity to exhaust from a running refueling truck. Results of the confidential employee interviews and questionnaires, regarding previous employment, medical history, dermatitis, respiratory symptoms, and personal protective equipment use, revealed that employees reported respiratory and physical symptoms that are consistent with, but not specific for, workplace exposure to jet fuel vapor and jet exhaust. Concentrations of jet fuel compounds were found to be well below established occupational exposure limits. However, NIOSH recommends exposure to carcinogenic compounds, such as benzene, be kept to the lowest feasible levels. Therefore, recommendations are made in this report concerning proper work practices such as hygienic practices, personal protective equipment use, and engineering control use, to minimize exposure to such compounds. Concentrations of carbon monoxide in air were found to be above the ceiling limits for occupational exposure for two workers, most likely attributable to exposure to truck exhaust inside the mechanics' garage. Exposure to carbon monoxide for all other workers was below occupational exposure limits. Recommendations for the prevention of carbon monoxide exposure are made in this report