Cincinnati, OH: 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 2012-0176-3215, 2014 Jun; :1-27
The Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request from the union at a polymer additive manufacturing facility. Employees were concerned about developing chronic health problems including lung disease, kidney disease, and cancer, from exposure to workplace chemicals. Chemicals of concern included several used to make the polymer additive (including aniline and N-oxydiethylenethiocarbamyl-N'-oxydiethylenesulfenamide [OTOS]) and manufacturing byproducts (including hydrogen sulfide and a benzothiazole tar). We visited the facility in October 2012 and July 2013. We interviewed 10 current employees about health and workplace concerns, observed work practices, sampled the air for chemicals and OTOS dust, wiped surfaces to look for aniline, and reviewed safety data sheets, injury and illness logs, employee medical records, workers' compensation claims, prior sampling results, and facility policies and procedures. We found employees were overexposed to OTOS when compared to the manufacturer's occupational exposure limit of 0.1 mg/m3, but not overexposed to aniline or hydrogen sulfide. Aniline was not found on the wipe samples. OTOS overexposures occurred during product bagging and when troubleshooting a clog in the bagging operation. These overexposures and our observations indicate deficiencies in the local exhaust ventilation system. Although the employees used respiratory protection while bagging OTOS, they did not wear respirators while troubleshooting the clog. In our review of the respiratory protection program, we found critical elements missing and inconsistencies between the written program and actual practice. Some employees had eye, nose, throat, and skin irritation consistent with exposure to workplace chemical irritants. We determined that two former employees with chronic kidney disease had conditions that were unlikely to be related to work exposures. We recommended the employer (1) improve local exhaust ventilation for bagging OTOS and the primary polymer additive product, (2) follow the OSHA respiratory protection standard, (3) encourage employees to report possible work-related symptoms to their supervisors and to seek medical follow-up, and (4) improve communication with employees, particularly with regard to concern about working with cancer causing chemicals. We recommended employees follow all health and safety guidelines, report health and safety concerns, and wash their hands before eating, drinking, and smoking, and before and after using the bathroom.
Chemical-manufacturing-industry; Chemical-industry-workers; Polymers; Industrial-gases; Gases; Lung-disease; Kidney-disorders; Cancer; Exhaust-systems; Exhaust-ventilation; Respirators; Respiratory-protection; Employee-exposure; Employee-health; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Sampling; Work-practices; Amides; Chemical-processing; Ventilation-systems; Irritant-gases; Irritants; Standards; Safety-practices; Work-operations;
Author Keywords: Industrial Gas Manufacturing; chemical manufacturing; chemical; polymer additive; N'-Oxydiethylenethiocarbamyl-N'-oxydiethylenesulfenamide; OTOS