Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2004-0012-2948, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Canine Enforcement Training Center, Front Royal, Virginia.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a request for a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Canine Enforcement Training Center (CETC) in Front Royal, Virginia. The request concerned potential exposures from the preparation of pseudo narcotics. NIOSH conducted an initial site visit on November 12 - 14, 2003, and follow up visits on March 1 and 4, 2004. Preparation of pseudo odors includes the mixing of acetic acid, benzaldehyde, methyl benzoate, piperonal, cab-o-sil, and microcrystalline cellulose. Seven personal breathing zone (PBZ) air samples were collected for total particulates on workers in the mix room. Nine general area (GA) air samples were collected for total particulates in the mix and package rooms. Two PBZ air samples were collected for acetic acid on workers in the mix room and four GA air samples were collected in the mix and package room. Three GA air samples were collected for benzaldehyde and piperonal and four GA air samples for methyl benzoate in the mix room. The particulates contained cab-o-sil and microcrystalline cellulose. All of the PBZ air samples collected for total particulates on workers in the mix room exceeded the OSHA PEL for particulates not otherwise classified (PNOC) and the ACGIH TLV for cellulose. Concentrations ranged from 21 to 110 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3) with an average of 43 mg/m3. Workers lean forward and place their heads inside drums, scooping out powder near the bottom. This accounts for the high exposure to airborne dust. One of two PBZ air samples collected for acetic acid on workers in the mix room exceeded the NIOSH REL, OSHA PEL, and ACGIH TLV. This sample was collected on the worker who measures acetic acid. All other air samples collected were below relevant evaluation criteria. There is a potential for excessive particulate and acetic acid exposure in the mix room of the pseudo drug building. Based on a description of other work activities not directly observed, there is a potential for respiratory hazards during the chopping of marijuana bales. Recommendations such as ventilation improvements, modified work practices, and use of respiratory protection are included in this report.
Region-3; Hazards-Confirmed; Law-enforcement; Law-enforcement-workers; Respiratory-protection; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Ventilation-systems; Ventilation;
Author Keywords: Public Order and Safety Not Elsewhere Classified; pseudo drugs; acetic acid; benzaldehyde; methyl benzoate; piperonal; cab-o-sil®; microcrystalline cellulose; carbon monoxide; marijuana; mold; canine training