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Evidence of fecal contamination within a machine at a manufacturing site.

Ewers L; Tapp L; Achutan C
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 13-16, 2006, Chicago, Illinois. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2006 May; :41
For over a year, workers at a manufacturing plant complained of gastrointestinal illness and malodors associated with a metal stamping and washing machine. In response for a request for assistance, NIOSH industrial hygienists from the Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program collected bulk water and sludge samples from the suspect machine and two comparison machines, and a NIOSH medical officer interviewed workers. Two bulk samples from the water tank of the suspect machine contained enteric bacteria in concentrations up to 1.0x 107 colony forming units/milliliter (CFU/ml). Enteric bacteria identified from bulk water and sludge from the suspected machine included Citrobacter koseri (5.0xl06 CFU/ml), Enterobacter agglomerans type 1 (3.0x]06 CFU/ml), Enterobacter agglomerans type 2 (3.0xl06 CFU/ml), and Citrobacter youngae (2.9xI06 CFu/ml). Aeromonas hydrophila, a bacterium common in freshwater and capable of causing gastroenteritis in healthy individuals, was also identified (5.7xl06 CFU/ml). Two comparison machines contained no bacteria associated with fecal contamination. Among the 20 workers located near the machine, eight (40%) reported having gastrointestinal illness during the six months prior to the NIOSH visit. Stool samples were collected on three employees who reported active diarrhea. One stool sample grew Aeromonas veronii biovar sobria, which is associated with diarrhea; the other stool samples did not grow pathogenic bacteria. After cleaning with a 11100 dilution of sodium hypochlorite/water, a water sample from the suspect machine remained contaminated with enteric bacteria (7.0xI07 CFU/ml). Although plant management disconnected and capped a drainage pipe linking the machine and a sewer line, bulk sampling 1-112 months later still revealed bacteria associated with fecal contamination. Recommendations included education for improved hygiene and use of an experienced contractor for disinfection of the machine.
Workers; Work-environment; Metal-industry; Metal-industry-workers; Equipment-operators; Industrial-hygienists; Bacteria; Bacterial-cultures; Bacterial-infections; Gastrointestinal-system; Gastrointestinal-system-disorders; Water-analysis; Water-sampling
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 13-16, 2006, Chicago, Illinois
Page last reviewed: August 26, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division