Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2005-0361-3005, Buffalo Newspress, Buffalo, New York.
On October 13, 2005, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a confidential employee request to conduct a health hazard evaluation (HHE) at Buffalo Newspress in Buffalo, New York. The request asked NIOSH to evaluate employee exposures to ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), respirable particulate matter, and carbon monoxide (CO). Employee concerns included dermatitis (thought to be caused by contact with the blanket and fountain wash solutions), headaches, burning eyes, and sinus irritation. Results from full-shift personal breathing zone (PBZ) air samples for ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, VOCs, and respirable dust were below occupational exposure criteria. However, dermal contact with these compounds was observed to be a significant route of exposure in press employees. In addition, employee skin examinations revealed that nearly one third of 41 interviewed had a visible hand/arm rash consistent with workplace exposure. Approximately 80% of workers wore wrist-length vinyl gloves during the handling of inks, blanket wash solutions, and other solvents. Barrier creams and gauntlet-type nitrile gloves were available on request, but were not in regular use. General area measurements of CO at various plant locations indicated that sources (ovens, heating units, and propane-powered forklift trucks) increased CO air concentrations above the plant background of 1-2 parts per million (ppm). Although no CO sample result exceeded the NIOSH Ceiling limit of 200 ppm, some press room workers' exposures may exceed the NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) of 35 ppm as a time-weighted average. The high prevalence of headache (56%) among press employees suggests a possible relationship between these headaches and CO concentrations. NIOSH investigators conclude that a health hazard existed at the time of the survey from dermal exposure to blanket wash and other solvents. Observations of work practices, glove type, and glove use and availability indicate a significant opportunity for dermal exposure to RycolineŽ blanket wash and fountain solution and other solvents among press employees. The prevalence of contact dermatitis among these workers indicates that skin exposure to workplace solvents should be minimized. PBZ air sampling in the press room indicated that no exceedence of any occupational airborne exposure criteria occurred during the survey. General area air concentrations of CO above background levels (1-2 ppm) and the occurrence of headache among press employees indicate that actions to decrease CO exposure in the press room are necessary. Recommendations include improving press room ventilation, implementing a personal protective equipment (PPE) program that includes worker training, using less abrasive hand cleaners, and supplying appropriate gloves and barrier creams.
Region-2; Hazard-Confirmed; Printing-industry; Printing-inks; Solvents; Solvent-vapors; Skin-absorption; Skin-exposure; Skin-irritants; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Publishing-and-printing; Ventilation; Personal-protective-equipment; Personal-protection; Protective-clothing; Protective-equipment; Gloves; Organic-solvents; Organic-chemicals; Organic-compounds; Organic-vapors; Eye-irritants