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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2008-0175-3111, evaluation of 1-bromopropane use in four New Jersey commercial dry cleaning facilities, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.

Eisenberg-J; Ramsey-J
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 2008-0175-3111, 2010 Jul; :1-19
On May 2, 2008, NIOSH received a technical assistance request from the NJ DHSS regarding potential health effects of 1-BP in drycleaners. This solvent can be used in the same machine as Perc after a conversion process. One New Jersey dry cleaner owner required medical evaluation after becoming symptomatic while doing the 1-BP conversion himself. Initial reports indicated the possibility of peripheral neuropathy. Because 1-BP has been documented in the medical literature to cause peripheral neuropathy, NIOSH was asked to evaluate possible exposures and health effects among dry cleaner operators who used 1-BP. In August 2008, we visited four of eight facilities in New Jersey that had been approved to use 1-BP in dry cleaning operations. We interviewed owners, operators, and an employee about the conversion process, work practices, and adverse health effects they associated with 1-BP use. PBZ and area air sampling was performed during normal operation of the 1-BP system during our second site visit in November 2008. Six interviews were conducted with owners, operators, and employees. One person reported transient lightheadedness, which is consistent with general solvent exposure. The owner who sought prior medical care for symptoms that occurred while handling 1-BP had no residual neurological deficits at the time of our visit. Review of this individual's medical records did not reveal neurological abnormalities at an ED visit when symptoms first developed, and serum bromide levels obtained during that ED visit were well under levels associated with adverse health effects. Full-shift sampling for 1-BP conducted at one of the facilities resulted in PBZ air concentrations of 40 ppm for the operator and 17 ppm for the cashier. PBZ concentrations ranging from 1.5 to 160 ppm were found in partial shift samples taken at the other three facilities. These results confirmed the release of 1-BP into the environment at all four locations, indicating a potential hazard to employees. We recommend that dry cleaner operators using 1-BP as a perc alternative use a qualified technician to convert the machines. Operators should not cook the solvent nor cut drying periods short, as doing so may increase exposure to 1-BP. Until 1-BP exposures can be consistently documented to be below the OEL, respirators are recommended. Use of respirators should occur within the setting of a comprehensive respiratory protection program. General ventilation should always be used to dilute 1-BP concentrations in the air. Symptoms such as lightheadedness, headache, and nausea are consistent with solvent exposure. If employees notice these symptoms they should leave the area. Employees should not resume work until the source of the exposure has been indentified and corrected. If symptoms do not resolve shortly after leaving the work area, employees should seek immediate medical attention and inform their healthcare provider of their potential exposure to 1-BP. The highlights and summary portions of this report are also available in Korean: <a href=""target="_blank"></a>
Region-2; Dry-cleaning-industry; Dry-cleaning-solvents; Solvents; Solvent-vapors; Neurological-reactions; Neuropathy; Neurophysiological-effects; Neurotoxic-effects; Nervous-system-disorders; Peripheral-nervous-system; Respirators; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Personal-protective-equipment; Personal-protection; Author Keywords: Dry Cleaning and Laundry Services (except Coin-Operated); dry cleaning; 1-bromopropane; n-propyl bromide; solvent; neuropathy
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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: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division