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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2007-0201-3086, evaluation of health concerns at a printed circuit board manufacturing plant, Sanmina-SCI® Corporation, Huntsville, Alabama.

Durgam S; Aristeguieta C; Achutan C
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, HETA 2007-0201-308, 2009 Aug; :1-41
NIOSH received a confidential employee request for an HHE at Sanmina-SCI Corporation (Sanmina-SCI) located in Huntsville, Alabama. Employees were concerned about exposure to solder paste and fumes during the fabrication, assembly, and testing of printed circuit boards, and noise. Other exposure concerns included copy machine toner, asbestos, mold, and dust. Health effects mentioned in the HHE request included cough, burning eyes, nosebleeds, loss of voice, headache, sinus infection, bronchitis, and respiratory problems. On July 9-10, 2007, we conducted our first site visit. We toured the facility to observe work processes and practices, conducted confidential medical interviews with 40 employees, and collected GA air samples for VOCs and surface wipe samples for lead and tin. We reviewed air sampling records, injury and illness records, the respiratory protection program, and MSDSs. We also reviewed the PPE used for the solder dross cleaning operation and the maintenance schedule for the ARUs. We conducted a second site visit on December 12-13, 2007. We collected air samples for lead and specific VOCs. We conducted noise dosimetry at the AI stations, evaluated the room acoustics near ARUs, evaluated the effectiveness of local exhaust hoods for the wave solder and surface mount machines, and collected hand wipe samples to assess lead contamination on skin. We found that a wave solder operator (cleaning wave solder machines) was exposed to an airborne lead concentration of 49 microg/m3, which exceeded the OSHA AL (30 microg/m3) and was close to the OSHA PEL (50 microg/m3). However, during normal wave solder activities, wave solder operators had lead exposures well below the OSHA AL. We found lead on work surfaces and on hands of employees despite hand washing. We also sampled larger surface areas of the break room tables to ensure they were clean but found detectable levels of lead. Air sampling results for specific VOCs indicated that employee exposures were well below all applicable OELs. Full-shift noise exposures for the AI operators in the MS and DAS were well below the NIOSH REL, and the room acoustics were appropriate for the work environment. A consultant's IEQ assessment report from 2007 identified mold in several ARUs, prompting the company to address employee concerns about odors and mold contamination. Our review of air sampling data collected by the company in March 2007 indicated that the airborne carbon black concentrations resulting from Xerox(TM) toner cartridge cleaning were below OELs. We did not evaluate asbestos exposure, another concern listed in the original HHE request, because management informed us that asbestos-containing material was identified and being managed-in-place. Some of the employees we interviewed were concerned about thermal comfort and exposure to dust and solvents. Most interviewed employees did not report work-related symptoms. Furthermore, the upper respiratory symptoms reported by some employees are common in the general population. We recommend following all requirements of the OSHA lead standard (29 CFR 1910.1025). We recommend using engineering controls such as portable exhaust hoods when removing solder dross and cleaning wave solder machines. General housekeeping practices should be improved to keep break rooms and work surfaces clean. We also recommend cleaning and maintaining the ARUs to ensure mold growth does not occur in the future. Additionally, we recommend revising the written respiratory protection program to address inconsistencies between the written program and current employee respirator use.
Region-4; Soldering; Solderers; Soldering-alloys; Fumes; Noise; Noise-exposure; Noise-sources; Dusts; Molds; Microorganisms; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Lead-compounds; Lead-dust; Lead-fumes; Tin-compounds; Tin-alloys; Acoustical-measurements; Dose-response; Dosimetry; Volatiles; Organic-compounds; Indoor-air-pollution; Indoor-environmental-quality; Author Keywords: Printed circuit board manufacturing; lead; mold; VOC; wave solder; solder dross cleaning; air rotation unit; noise
7439-92-1; 7440-31-5; 1332-21-4
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Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division