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Fatal asthma attack while cleaning bulk milk tank.

Michigan Fatality Assessment & Control Evaluation
East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University, Department of Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, HA#6, 2005 Aug; :1
A 75-year-old female dairy farmer died from an acute bronchial asthma attack while cleaning out a bulk milk tank. Tank cleaning involved a rinse with a sodium hypochlorite/sodium hydroxide mix, followed by an acid rinse. The victim rinsed the tank with the sodium hypochlorite mixture. 1t appears that the sodium hypochlorite rinse was mixed with the acid rinse. Her husband working in another area smelled the strong odor produced and went to see if she was okay. He saw her outside of the milking bulk tank room leaning against a fence , having difficulty breathing. He went to get a truck to transport her to the house. Upon returning, she was unconscious. Returning home, he called 911. A neighbor arrived and together they began CPR. She was transported to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. Her husband stated that the victim used an inhaler regularly; one was found at the fence. In order to prevent similar incidents in the future: 1. Check water quality for hardness and bacterial count (Check with Health Department). Alkaline detergents do not perfonm well in water that contains high levels of minerals or salts. 2. Choose cleaners that are compatible with the water. Discuss with dealer. 3. Post cleaning procedures for dairy equipment including bulk tanks and train employees. 4. Rinse bulk tank immediately after milk is removed with water that is 90-140 degrees-F. 5. Follow manufacturer directions and Measure appropriate amount of alkaline cleaner for proper concentration. 6. Wash for time deSignated by manufacturer. Drain thoroughly. 7. Rinse equipment and tank thoroughly with water. Drain thoroughly. 8. Ensure alkaline cleaner residues are removed from the equipment and tank. DO NOT allow alkaline cleaning solution to contact acid solution - chlorine gas may be formed . 9. Drain system completely to minimize bacterial growth in residual water.
Injuries; Traumatic-injuries; Workers; Humans; Accidents; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Farmers; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-function; Pulmonary-system; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Women
7681-52-9; 1310-73-2
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Fatal asthma attack while cleaning bulk milk tank
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Michigan State Department of Labor and Economic Growth
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division