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Worker exposures to substances in the manufacture of nonferrous, powderized, specialty metal alloys for the aircraft-engine industry.

Blade L; McCleery R; Burt S
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 20-25, 2000, Orlando, Florida. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2000 May; :68
NIOSH conducted a health hazard evaluation (HHE) at a facility that produces specialty, nonferrous metal alloy billets, primarily for use in the manufacture of aircraft-engine turbine parts. The alloy-billet production process includes alloy powderization, size selection, containerization, and (at an offsite facility) extrusion to resolidify the alloy, followed upon return to this facility by various machining operations. The alloy powderization is achieved in ceramic-lined furnaces; the ceramic furnace linings are built on site. NIOSH investigators conducted an environmental and medical investigation involving two site visits in response to this HHE request from employees concerned about the possible formation of hexavalent chromium (chromium [VI]) in the specialty alloy production operations, and of the potential health hazards from exposures to this and other materials associated with those operations. Based on initial environmental findings, the NIOSH investigators better characterized worker exposures to several of the metals used at the facility by conducting biological monitoring and additional environmental monitoring. The environmental monitoring included collection of bulk-material samples and both personal breathing- zone (PBZ) and general-area air samples. The results of bulk-material sample analyses revealed that chromium (VI) is present in the facility. However, all chromium (VI) PBZ air-sampling results were below relevant evaluation criteria. The results of two air samples collected in the PBZs of a laboratory assistant and a furnace operator's helper (and analyzed for cobalt, total chromium, niobium, and nickel) exceeded the OSHA PELs for cobalt and nickel, and several PBZ air-sample results also exceeded the NIOSH RELs for those two metals. All analytical results for total chromium were below relevant evaluation criteria. No current evaluation criteria exist for niobium. Biological monitoring for nickel, cobalt, and chromium also was conducted. The relationship between the environmental and biological monitoring results was examined.
Metal-compounds; Aircraft-engines; Aircraft-parts-and-auxiliary-equipment; Industrial-exposures; Industrial-factory-workers; Industrial-processes; Soldering-alloys; Health-hazards; Ceramic-materials; Furnaces; Hexavalent-chromium-compounds; Work-operations; Biological-monitoring; Environmental-health-monitoring; Chromium-compounds; Air-sampling; Breathing-zone; Sampling; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Nickel-compounds; Cobalt-alloys; Cobalt-compounds
18540-29-9; 7440-03-1; 7440-02-0; 7440-48-4; 7440-47-3
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NIOSH Division
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 20-25, 2000, Orlando, Florida
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division