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NIOSH evaluation of health hazards in a crime lab.
Fent K; Niemeier M
Evid Technol Mag 2011 May-Jun; 9(3):22-25
Police Department Crime Lab HHE: We received a request for an HHE from managers of a police department crime lab to address concerns about cancer among current and former employees; five crime-lab employees had cancer. We received a request for an HHE from managers of a police department crime lab to address concerns about cancer among current and former employees; five crime-lab employees had cancer. Managers were also concerned about indoor environmental quality (IEQ), adequacy of the ventilation systems, chemical exposures encountered during criminal-investigation procedures, and effectiveness of the engineering controls at minimizing chemical exposures in the crime lab. The police department consisted of 101 employees at the time of our investigation; 16 worked in the crime lab (14 criminalists who processed evidence and two supervisory investigators). A total of 47 officers have worked in the crime lab since its inception. We reviewed and verified medical and work-history information for employees reported to have cancer. We evaluated the performance of the local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems in the crime lab and the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system throughout the building. The LEV systems we evaluated included a fingerprint powder downdraft table, two superglue fuming chambers, a chemical fume hood, and two overhead exhaust hoods. Our investigation also included area air sampling in the locations adjacent to the crime lab and photo-processing lab to evaluate how chemicals used in these locations move throughout the building. We collected air samples for ethyl acetate during ninhydrin spraying, ethyl cyanoacrylate during superglue fuming, carbon black during fingerprint-powder application, ammonia and sulfur dioxide during photo-processing, and hydrogen peroxide during luminol spraying. Finally, we interviewed employees about their symptoms and work-related health concerns. Eight of the 13 employees we interviewed had respiratory, neurological, or mucous membrane symptoms they believed were work-related.
Air-conditioning; Air-sampling; Cancer-rates; Chemical-processing; Chemical-properties; Chemical-reactions; Engineering-controls; Environmental-contamination; Environmental-hazards; Health-hazards; Health-surveys; Humidity; Indoor-environmental-quality; Police-officers; Respiratory-infections; Respiratory-irritants; Ventilation; Ventilation-systems; Work-environment; Worker-health; Work-operations; Workplace-studies
Issue of Publication
Evidence Technology Magazine
Page last reviewed: October 26, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division