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Airborne resin acid exposures among workers at a magazine printing company.

Cook C; Page E
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2001 Jun; :56
Background: In September 1999, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a health hazard evaluation at a magazine printing company to assess exposures to resin acids during lithography printing and bindery processes. Workers reported symptoms consistent with occupational contact dermatitis, respiratory irritation, and asthma. Inks used were complex chemical mixtures containing epoxy and phenolic resins. Printed paper materials were dried by ovens and bound using a hot-melt adhesive containing colophony (rosin). Resin acids are components in rosin that are responsible for dermal and respirable sensitization. Methods: An air sampling strategy was devised to measure resin acids released by heated inks and hot-melt adhesives. Thirteen personal breathing-zone (PBZ) and 11 area air samples for resin acids were collected on polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) filters using air sampling pumps calibrated at 2 liters per minute. Analysis was performed by a high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) procedure for the analysis of resin acids, specifically abietic and dehydroabietic acids. Results: Full-shift PBZ air samples for resin acids collected on printing press operators and bindery operators revealed time-weighted average (TWA) concentrations up to 2 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3) for dehydroabietic acid, while only trace abietic acid concentrations were measured. General area air sampling revealed concentrations up to 4.5 u/m3 for abietic acid and 9.2 ug/m3 for dehydroabietic acid at printing presses, and up to 6 ug/m3 for abietic acid and 77 ug/m3 for dehydroabietic acid in the bindery department. Although there is no NIOSH recommended exposure limit (REL), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists' (ACGIH) recommends reducing exposures to as low as possible. Conclusions: Workers were exposed to airborne resin acids generated by both the printing and bindery processes. While resin acids are known to derive from heated materials containing rosin, heated inks containing epoxy and phenolic resins were suspected of generating resin acids.
Printing-inks; Printing-industry; Resins; Acids; Workers; Work-environment; Contact-dermatitis; Skin-sensitivity; Skin-exposure; Respiration; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Epoxy-resins; Phenolic-compounds; Airborne-particles; Airborne-dusts
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division