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A follow-up study of vision disturbances among workers at a printing company.

Burr G; Methner M; Page E
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2003 May; :65
NIOSH received a request for a health hazard evaluation from a label printing company where employees in the Line Division of the plant were experiencing intermittent blurred vision, but workers in an adjacent area (the Prime Division) were not experiencing visual disturbances. In 2001, following medical questionnaires, eye exams, and extensive industrial hygiene monitoring for two types of tertiary amine compounds, dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) and dimethylisopropanolamine (DMIPA), NIOSH investigators associated amine exposure with visual and ocular changes. In 2002, following various production changes by the company, NIOSH investigators conducted a follow-up survey to collect additional air samples and to interview employees on the extent of any visual problems. A total of 108 and 125 fullshift personal breathing-zone air samples for these amines were collected in the initial and follow-up studies, respectively. Air samples were collected on XAD-7 sorbent tubes and analyzed by gas chromatography/flame ionization detection. In the Line Division, while mean time-weighted average (TWA) concentrations of DMAE declined from 2.3 to 0.76 mg/m3 between the initial and follow-up surveys, mean TWA DMIPA concentrations declined sharply from 7.8 mg/m3 to trace amounts "0.36 mg/m3). In the Prime Division, between the initial and follow-up surveys, mean TWA concentrations of DMAE remained essentially unchanged (3.2 vs. 3.1 mg/m3) while concentrations of DMIPA declined from 1.9 mg/m3 to trace levels. In contrast to the initial survey, none of the employees reported visual disturbances during the follow-up study. Exposure to both the tertiary amines DMAE and DMIPA was initially associated with visual and ocular changes. Following production changes by management in an effort to lower amine concentrations, NIOSH investigators, in a followup survey which included additional air samples and employee interviews, concluded that DMIPA had been responsible for these visual disturbances.
Vision-disorders; Work-environment; Workers; Health-hazards; Eye-examinations; Industrial-hygiene; Amines; Air-samples; Eye-irritants; Eye-disorders; Eyesight; Printing-inks; Printing-industry; Printers; Volatiles; Workers; Workplace-monitoring; Workplace-studies; Air-sampling; Exposure-levels; Eyesight
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas
Page last reviewed: December 18, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division