Health hazard evaluation report: HETA 2003-0029-2923, Ward Brodt Music Mall, Madison, Wisconsin.
On October 18, 2002, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a confidential employee request for a health hazard evaluation (HHE) at Ward Brodt Music Mall in Madison, Wisconsin. The request centered on workers' exposures to acids and solvents during musical instrument repair operations, the adequacy of the ventilation in the chemical room, and reported symptoms of sore throat, sinus headaches, congestion, asthma, persistent cough, allergies, sneezing, and watery eyes. On January 14, 2003, NIOSH investigators conducted an exposure assessment and interviewed repair shop workers. Between the time of the HHE request and the site visit, local exhaust ventilation was installed in the chemical room. Personal breathing zone and general area air samples were collected and analyzed for inorganic acids (hydrochloric, nitric, and sulfuric) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Thermal desorption tubes were used qualitatively to determine the compounds to analyze. A ventilation assessment consisted of "smoke" tube observations and velometer measurements. Hydrochloric acid concentrations ranged from not detected (ND) to 0.049 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3) and nitric acid concentrations ranged from ND to 0.035 mg/m3. Sulfuric acid concentrations could not be determined due to analytical problems. Based upon thermal desorption tube results, the VOC samples were analyzed for toluene, trichloroethylene (TCE), and total VOCs (reported as octane). Toluene concentrations ranged from 0.06 to 0.29 parts per million (ppm), TCE concentrations ranged from trace to 0.99 ppm, and total VOC concentrations ranged from trace to 0.35 ppm. All of these results were far below applicable occupational exposure limits. Ventilation testing using visual "smoke" indicated little air movement over the workbenches and around mechanical equipment. A ventilation assessment of the slot hood in the chemical room found it within recommended standards. Although no applicable standards exist for the ventilation systems in the buffing and lacquer rooms, each area was under negative pressure in relationship to the repair shop. Confidential interviews were conducted with repair shop employees. Of the seven brass and woodwind shop employees interviewed, three had experienced upper and/or lower respiratory symptoms they felt were related to acid mist exposure from the chemical room. Two of the three had complete resolution of their symptoms after a new ventilation system was installed. At least two of the seven have had mild to moderate skin irritation related to their work. These symptoms reportedly improved with skin moisturizers and glove use. Employees' reports of upper and lower respiratory symptoms could be related to the low concentrations of air contaminants measured. It is possible that the reported symptoms were related to higher concentration of the irritants that may have been present in the repair shop prior to installation of the new ventilation system. Recommendations are provided to further reduce employees' exposures to these chemicals by increasing the level of personal protection for workers in the repair shop, and improving ventilation and work practices in the facility.
Region-5; Hazard-Unconfirmed; Inorganic-acids; Inorganic-chemicals; Inorganic-compounds; Skin-irritants; Skin-disorders; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Lung-disorders; Throat-disorders; Eye-disorders; Eye-damage; Eye-irritants; Allergies; Allergic-reactions; Allergens; Bronchial-asthma; Solvents; Solvent-vapors; Ventilation; Ventilation-systems