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Industrial hygiene summary report for workers exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) in a capacitor manufacturing plant (plant 1; 1948-1977).

Nilsen NB; Waters MA; Prince MM; Zivkovich ZE; Ruder AM
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, IWS 95-12, 2004 Mar; :1-148
This industrial hygiene summary report summarizes information about workers who manufactured large and small capacitors using polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at a plant operating from 1948 through 1977. The first step in making a capacitor was to wind bales of foil and paper together tightly. The capacitor manufacturing process did not significantly change over the years. The use of PCB mixtures, commercially called Aroclors, changed over time. There was a potential for significant dermal exposure for some jobs. Dermal exposures were ordinally rated separately for each job and each category. Dermal exposures were in the same general magnitude as inhalation exposures. Both inhalation and dermal exposure estimates were used to develop a combination JEM. The two facilities produced PCB containing capacitors. The type of PCB mixture used varied over the years and included Aroelor 1254,1242, and 1016. These Aroelor products contained 54%, 42% and 41% chlorine, respectively. A walk through survey was completed for both plants with combined employment at approximately 1600 employees. There were 564 hourly employees at one plant and 233 hourly employees at the other plant.. An estimated 7,000 employees ever worked at both sites. The work force was predominantly white and equally distributed between males and females. A majority of workers were employed in areas where there was no direct exposure to PCBs. According to personnel at the plant,, 137 employees were exposed to PCBs at both plants at the time of the survey (NIOSH survey 1976). A follow-up survey was conducted in April 1977. Air samples were collected by NIOSH in each plant during this follow-up for the purpose of determining exposure to PCBs, trichloroethylene, toluene, methyl isobutyl ketone, lead, zinc, tin, aluminum, and iron. Personal air samples also were taken in the treatment area and adjacent operations (i.e. areas of greatest potential exposure to PCBs). The time-weighted average (TW A) of the area air samples ranged from a low of3 Ilg/m3 in the winding area (an area oflow exposure) of the power capacitor facility to a high of 476 Ilg/m3 in the soldering area (an area of high exposure) in the small capacitor manufacturing facility. Although there is a large difference in potential exposure between workers in low and high exposure areas, all of these reported levels are well above background level. Background urban air levels average 0.1 Ilg/m3. These plants were chosen for study because each had a large work force, PCBs had been used for more than 30 years, and there was a considerable potential for exposure PCBs with little potential for exposure to other known toxic contaminants. The records necessary to identify individuals to be included in the study population were readily available.
Field-Study; Polychlorinated-biphenyls; Industrial-factory-workers; Industrial-hazards; Industrial-hygiene; Industrial-exposures; Workplace-studies; Work-operations; Electronic-devices; Exposure-assessment; Air-sampling; Electrical-industry
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, Industrywide Studies Branch, Mail Stop R-13, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226
12674-11-2; 53469-21-9; 11097-69-1
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Field Studies; Industry Wide
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division