Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2001-0537-2897, Sunset Strip Furniture Stripping, Huntington Beach, California.
On September 4, 2001, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a request for a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) from a management official at Sunset Strip Furniture Stripping Company, Huntington Beach, California. The request concerned worker exposures to lead and other metals that may result from stripping and refinishing furniture. A site visit at Sunset Strip Furniture Stripping Company was conducted on September 4-5, 2002. This survey was conducted to evaluate worker exposures in the furniture stripping shop for lead and other elements during typical shop operations. Wood dust was also evaluated during this HHE because operations in the shop included sanding on hard woods. Personal breathing zone (PBZ) air samples were collected on both workers in the shop for lead and other elements (i.e., silver, aluminum, arsenic, beryllium, calcium, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, copper, iron, lithium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, sodium, nickel, phosphorus, platinum, selenium, tellurium, thallium, titanium, vanadium, yttrium, zinc, and zirconium) and total dust during stripping, rinsing, sanding, and refinishing operations throughout the 2-day sampling period. In addition, area air samples for elements (including lead) and inhalable dust were collected at two locations near sanding operations. Qualitative wipe samples for lead and bulk samples for elements were also collected. All air samples (both area and PBZ samples) for lead and other elements indicated concentrations well below applicable occupational exposure criteria. Bulk samples of dust material in the shop and stripping solution from the paint stripping operation indicated the presence of lead and other elements. Therefore, care should be taken to improve hygiene practices within the shop to reduce the possibility of ingestion or secondary exposures during cleaning activities. PBZ wood dust air samples indicated exposures exceeding the NIOSH REL (1 milligram per cubic meter [mg/m3]) for soft or hard wood) and ACGIH® TLV® (1 mg/m3 for hard wood). The adverse health effects that have been associated with exposure to wood dust upon which evaluation criteria are based include dermatitis, allergic respiratory effects, mucosal and nonallergenic respiratory effects, and cancer. Engineering controls should be used to reduce worker exposures to wood dust. Personal protective equipment (PPE) (i.e., respirators) are designed to protect workers from airborne exposures while engineering controls are being implemented or when engineering controls are not feasible or effective in reducing air contaminants to acceptable levels. Recommendations for controls, respirators, and hygiene practices (shop cleaning and personal hygiene) are provided.