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Evaluation of lead and isocyanate exposure in a maintenance facility with small arms repair and vehicle painting shops
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  • Description:
    "The Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request from a small arms repair and vehicle maintenance facility. A manager was concerned about airborne lead and take-home lead exposures in the small arms repair shop as well as employees' exposures to hazardous painting products, including isocyanates in the military vehicle painting shop. To evaluate employee exposures to lead we collected personal air, hand, and surface wipe samples and we evaluated blood lead levels. For isocyanates, we collected personal air samples for hexamethylene diisocyanate and tested the employees' blood to look for isocyanate exposure and sensitization. We evaluated the ventilations systems in both areas. Although we detected no lead in the personal air samples, we did find lead on employees' hands after they had washed them, and one elevated blood lead level. We found hexamethylene diisocyanate in the air in the spray paint shop, and one employee had a blood test, which showed antibodies to a specific isocyanate (isophorone diisocyanate) in the paint, confirming recent exposure. We observed multiple opportunities for dermal exposure to paints that contained isocyanates. The firing line of the range had turbulent airflow, creating irregular mixing of air. The spray paint booth had missing and damaged filters and did not adequately remove paint overspray from the breathing zone of employees. We recommended the employer start an isocyanate medical surveillance program, use a lead removal product for hand washing and cleaning work surfaces, and have employees wear nitrile gloves while repairing firearms. We also recommended the employer provide eye and face protection and appropriately-sized protective suits for spray painting vehicles. Ventilation recommendations included reducing firing line turbulence and replacing the spray paint booth with a downdraft ventilation paint booth." - NIOSHTIC-2

    Recommended citation for this report: NIOSH [2018]. Evaluation of lead and isocyanate exposure in a maintenance facility with small arms repair and vehicle painting shops. By Beaucham CC, Page EH. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Health Hazard Evaluation Report 2016-0099-3297, https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/ pdfs/2016-0099-3297.pdf.

    NIOSH no. 20050869

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