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An automobile racing team's occupational exposure to potentially ototoxic chemicals.

Gwin-K; Wallingford-k; Van Campen-L; Morata-T
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2001 Jun; :55
BACKGROUND: Because of significant noise exposure during automobile racing, NIOSH partnered with a performance enhancement consulting firm and a stock car racing team to conduct a pilot study evaluating occupational exposure to potentially ototoxic chemicals. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the possibility of noise and chemical interaction that could lead to occupational hearing loss. METHODS: Exposure assessments were conducted at the team's garage and at one daytime and one nighttime race at a short (0.5 mile) oval track during the 2000 racing season. (This track represents a "worst case" exposure scenario due to its small size, steep banking, and high grandstand configuration.) Both area and personal air samples were collected for selected volatile organic compounds (VOCs), metals, and carbon monoxide (CO). Air samples for VOCs were obtained using both thermal desorption and charcoal tubes for qualitative and quantitative determination, respectively; air samples for metals were obtained on mixed cellulose ester membrane filters; and CO concentrations were measured using direct-reading, data-logging dosimeters. RESULTS: Airborne concentrations of VOCs and metals were either not detected or were extremely low, well below any relevant occupational exposure criteria. Mean CO concentrations ranged from <1 to 6 ppm at the team's garage, 12 to 14 ppm during the daytime race, and 3 to 139 ppm during the nighttime race. Peak CO levels ranged from 6 to 117 ppm at the team's garage, 31 to 55 ppm during the daytime race, and 26 to 835 ppm during the nighttime race. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that CO concentrations may exceed current 15-minute and 8- hour time-weighted average occupational exposure criteria during automobile racing practice and qualifying events. However, the determination of percent carboxyhemoglobin in exhaled breath after racing events to evaluate the actual CO body burden for the driver and crewmembers of the racing team will be necessary to confirm these environmental data.
Noise-exposure; Noise; Noise-levels; Noise-sources; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Automotive-engines; Occupational-exposure; Ototoxicity; Chemical-hypersensitivity; Hearing-loss; Hearing-disorders; Air-samples; Volatiles; Organic-compounds; Metal-compounds; Carbonates; Quantitative-analysis; Exhaust-gases
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division