The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a series of surveys to evaluate occupational exposure to noise and potentially ototoxic chemical agents among members of a professional stock car racing team. Exposure assessments included site visits to the team's race shop and a worst-case scenario racetrack. During site visits to the race team's shop, area samples were collected to measure exposures to potentially ototoxic chemicals, including, organic compounds (typical of solvents), metals, and carbon monoxide (CO). Exposures to these chemicals were all below their corresponding Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) permissible exposure limits (PELs), NIOSH recommended exposure limits (RELs), and American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) threshold limit values (TLVs). During site visits to the racetrack, area and personal samples were collected for organic compounds, lead, and CO in and around the "pit" area where the cars undergo race preparation and service during the race. Exposures to organic compounds and lead were either nondetectable or too low to quantify. Twenty-five percent of the CO time-weighted average concentrations exceeded the OSHA PEL, NIOSH REL, and ACGIH TLV after being adjusted for a 10-hour workday. Peak CO measurements exceeded the NIOSH recommended ceiling limit of 200 ppm. Based on these data, exposures to potentially ototoxic chemicals are probably not high enough to produce an adverse effect greater than that produced by the high sound pressure levels alone. However, carbon monoxide levels occasionally exceeded all evaluation criteria at the racetrack.
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