Evaluation of occupational exposures at drycleaning shops using SolvonK4 and DF-2000
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Evaluation of occupational exposures at drycleaning shops using SolvonK4 and DF-2000

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      The Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request from a government program that provides technical assistance to drycleaning shops. The program manager was concerned about occupational exposures to two new drycleaning solvents: SolvonK4 and DF-2000. In May 2013, we visited one drycleaning shop that used SolvonK4 and two that used DF-2000. SolvonK4 contains primarily butylal and small amounts of n-butanol and formaldehyde. DF-2000 is a mixture of C11 to C15 aliphatic-branched hydrocarbons. We observed work practices, collected air samples for drycleaning solvents and other chemicals produced or used during drycleaning, and evaluated potential skin exposures to these chemicals. Our evaluations measured the highest air concentrations of drycleaning solvents during loading and unloading of the drycleaning machines and when pressing fabrics. In the SolvonK4 shop, we documented inhalation and dermal exposures to butylal (no OELs exist and the long-term human health effects of SolvonK4 are unknown), and found low concentrations of formaldehyde and butanol. It is unknown if the formaldehyde originated from the drycleaning solvent or from other sources such as furnishings and clothing. We observed that employees without personal protective equipment mixed SolvonK4 with a pretreatment product and sprayed the mixture onto fabrics. In the DF-2000 shops, we measured airborne concentrations of DF-2000 that were well below OELs for petroleum naphthas. We saw employees without adequate personal protective equipment cleaning the stills in the SolvonK4 and DF-2000 drycleaning machines. We recommended the drycleaning shops (1) brush pretreatments onto fabrics instead of spraying, (2) regularly inspect and maintain the drycleaning machine according to the manufacturers' recommendations, (3) provide eye protection and chemical resistant gloves to employees, and (4) clean the shop regularly with a high efficiency particulate air filter vacuum cleaner or wet methods. We recommended the employees wear appropriate personal protective equipment, wash their hands or exposed skin with soap and water after contact with chemicals, and wash their hands after removing gloves.

      NIOSHTIC No. 20045600

      Recommended citation for this report: NIOSH [2014]. Health hazard evaluation report: evaluation of occupational exposures at drycleaning shops using SolvonK4 and DF-2000. By Ceballos D, Roberts J, Whittaker SG, Lee E, Gong W. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH HHE Report No. 2012-0084-3227.

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