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Investigation of exposures in an industrial printing facility.

Finley M; Page E
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 8-13, 2004, Atlanta, Georgia. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2004 May; :74
Investigators from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) responded to a confidential request for a health hazard evaluation from printing press operators at a large Midwestern printing facility. These employees were experiencing symptoms they believed were related to their exposure to inks and solvents. NIOSH investigators visited the facility to characterize workers' exposures, evaluate symptoms, and provide recommendations to minimize hazardous exposures. During the survey, personal breathing zone air sampling was conducted for trimethylbenzenes and trichloroethylene (results ranged from 0.3 to 9.5 parts per million (ppm) and not detected to 26 ppm, respectively). The NIOSH recommended exposure limit (REL) for both of these chemicals is 25 ppm as an 8-hour time-weighted average. Only one trichloroethylene result exceeded the REL. Area air samples were collected for 2-butoxyethanol, carbon monoxide (CO), and ozone. Concentrations of 2-butoxyethanol ranged from 0.2 to 1.2 ppm, below the REL of 5 ppm, while CO results ranged up to 17 ppm, below the REL of 35 ppm. Ozone was not detected. Noise dosimetry revealed that 12 of 13 employees monitored exceeded the NIOSH REL of 85 dBA. Questionnaires were administered to press operators and office workers and these two departments were then compared on age, tenure, gender, smoking, atopy, exposures, and outcome variables. There was a significantly higher prevalence of rash/skin irritation on hands or arms, and burning/runny nose among press operators. There was also a higher prevalence of work-related wheezing, burning/watery eyes, and sore throat among press operators, but this was not statistically significant. NIOSH recommendations include instituting a hearing conservation program, replacing certain solvents, enforcing the use of appropriate gloves, and covering unused solvent containers. Future activities include additional air sampling, audiometry, and biological monitoring to investigate the synergistic relationship between exposure to noise and solvents.
Printing-industry; Occupational-exposure; Health-hazards; Solvents; Breathing-zone; Air-sampling; Noise-exposure; Dosimetry; Questionnaires; Demographic-characteristics; Age-factors; Racial-factors; Sex-factors; Skin-irritants; Audiometry; Biological-monitoring
108-67-8; 95-63-6; 79-01-6; 111-76-2; 630-08-0
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 8-13, 2004, Atlanta, Georgia
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division