Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2004-0146-2947, Transportation Security Administration, Miami International Airport, Miami, Florida.
On February 20, 2004, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a health hazard evaluation (HHE) request from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at the Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida. The HHE request concerned potential health hazards from exposure to contaminants found in exhaust emissions of tug and jet engines and noise from tugs, jets, conveyor systems, and baggage carousels in the checked baggage screening area. Reported health problems included headaches, dizziness, and respiratory distress. An initial site visit was made on March 25, 2004; on June 5-6, 2004, NIOSH investigators conducted area and personal breathing zone (PBZ) air sampling for carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitric oxide (NO), diesel exhaust particulate (measured as elemental carbon [EC]), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Full-shift personal noise monitoring was also conducted. Concentrations of EC, a surrogate for diesel exhaust, ranged from 5.9 micrograms per cubic meter (microg/m3) to 19.2 microg/m3. No evaluation criteria exist for EC alone, although the California Department of Health Services recommends keeping levels below 20 microg/m3. PBZ concentrations of NO2 determined using sorbent tubes ranged from <0.1 part per million (ppm) to 0.12 ppm and PBZ concentrations of NO ranged from <0.05 ppm to 0.10 ppm. These results were very similar to the NO2 results obtained from real-time personal exposure monitors; full-shift time-weighted average (TWA) exposures were all non-detectable and 15-minute short-term exposures ranged from 0.1 ppm to 0.4 ppm. One employee's instantaneous exposure of 4.9 ppm approached the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ceiling limit of 5 ppm. All personal full-shift TWA exposures for CO ranged from 2 ppm to 7 ppm and 15-minute short-term exposures ranged from 5 ppm to 32 ppm. One employee working at the concourse C International to International (CITI) bag area measured an instantaneous peak exposure of 333 ppm. This employee's TWA and short-term exposure limit (STEL) exposures were 7 ppm and 32 ppm respectively. The employee's exposure to CO exceeded the NIOSH Ceiling limit of 200 ppm. VOCs were identified via thermal desorption tubes and quantified via charcoal tubes. One thermal desorption sample collected in Ramp A had significantly more VOC's present than any other sample. Only low levels of any contaminants were detected on all other samples. Compounds identified were isopropanol, benzene, ethyl benzene, xylenes, toluene, isooctane, and trimethyl benzenes. Charcoal tube analysis found low levels of isopropyl alcohol and toluene. Airborne concentrations of benzene, ethyl benzene, xylenes, isooctane, and total hydrocarbons were either not detected or were below the laboratory limit of quantification. The OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for noise of 90 A-weighted decibels (dBA) and the OSHA Action Level [85 dBA] were not exceeded in any of the 13 dosimeter samples. There were four instances where the 8-hr TWA exposures exceeded the NIOSH criterion, once on Saturday in area F2 and three times on Sunday in the EITI area (1) and at Area 62 (2). OSHA previously performed a noise survey in Area 62 and found 8-hr TWA levels of 88 dBA. These results were not confirmed in the NIOSH evaluation. The NIOSH investigators determined that a hazard does not exist from exposure to EC, CO, CO2, NO2, NO, or VOCs. The sampling results indicate that none of the chemicals were detected at concentrations exceeding occupational exposure limits. Therefore, an inhalation hazard to those compounds did not exist at the time of the NIOSH visit. The measured noise levels found little evidence of a serious noise problem. Recommendations for maintaining the air quality and reducing employees' noise exposures are provided in the Recommendations Section of this report