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Health hazard evaluation report: evaluation of health concerns at a pet food manufacturing facility - Missouri.

LeBouf RF; McCague A-B; Armstrong J; Boylstein R; Bailey RL; Kreiss K
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 2012-0260-3202, 2014 Jan; :1-29
In September 2012, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health received a confidential health hazard evaluation request from employees of a pet food manufacturing plant in Missouri. The requesters expressed concerns about vomiting, seizures, and breathing problems potentially associated with substances used in the manufacture of pet food and dog biscuits and/or possible phosphine exposure, which is a fumigant applied to bulk materials prior to arriving at the facility. They were also concerned about other issues with their livers, lungs, and kidneys. This health hazard evaluation was conducted after a phosphine investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and in the context of litigation against the company filed by some current and former employees concerning health impacts of employment. In December 2012, we conducted a walk-through site visit at the facility, interviewed employees, and reviewed company records. In February 2013, two interim letters were sent describing the visit, the sampling results of the walk-through survey, and the preliminary recommendations, all of which are included in this final report. The purpose of the survey sampling was to assess potential exposure agents and characterize the process in terms of these agents; it was not designed to assess personal exposures for comparison against regulatory limits. Results from the three tape-lift mold samples indicated no surface mold in the mill room basements. Grain dust was not sampled or tested for mold during the site visit, but it should be examined in any future exposure assessments of this industry. Headspace chemical analysis of bulk materials showed the presence of diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione in one ingredient used in the production process. Fugitive dust emissions were observed during some process events. We cannot conclude from our preliminary walk-through investigation whether health effects reported by workers were work-related or not. We planned a return medical survey since we were concerned with health symptoms experienced by requesters and interviewed employees; the medical survey was cancelled due to plant closure. Further medical testing of employees who work in this industry and industrial hygiene sampling of exposure agents at similar processing facilities are warranted to resolve health concerns raised about phosphine, flavorings, and/or dust exposures that may occur during the production of pet food and treats.
Kidney-disorders; Liver-disorders; Respiratory-system-disorders; Neurological-reactions; Gastrointestinal-system-disorders; Dusts; Organic-dusts; Microorganisms; Molds; Author Keywords: Dog and Cat Food Manufacturing; Dog and Cat Food; respiratory; hypersensitivity pneumonitis; phosphine; flavorings; diacetyl; 2,3-pentanedione; organic dust; mold; engineering controls
431-03-8; 600-14-6; 7803-51-2
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
HETA-2012-0260-3202; M012014
NIOSH Division
SIC Code
2047; NAICS-311111
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: April 1, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division