Poster Session 2

Poster Session 2

Author Attend Time: Monday 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

*All posters are available for viewing in the expo hall from Monday 9:00 a.m. through Wednesday 1:00 ​​p.m.

SR-402-01 Biomonitoring of Arsenic Exposure, Health Effect and DNA Methylation for Workers in Semiconductor and Electro-optics Industries

I. Mao, Chung Shan medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

Objective: Employees in semiconductor and electro-optics industries are prone to chronic exposure of low level arsenic. This study evaluated the arsenic exposure, health effects and blood DNA methylation for workers in these industries.

Methods: One hundred and thirty three subjects, including 74 subjects in the exposure group and 59 subjects in the control group, were recruited from three semiconductor and electro-optics industries. All of the subjects were evaluated by questionnaires, total arsenic (tAs) in blood, biochemical indices of liver and renal functions, as well as DNA methylation status of the p53 and p16 genes.

Results: Analysis results indicated that the blood tAs in preventive maintenance (PM) engineers (11.63±4.42 μg/L) were significantly higher than those in operators (10.03±2.23 μg/L) (p<0.05). Additionally, the blood tAs in semiconductor workers (11.93±2.32 μg/L) were significantly higher than those in electro-optics workers (10.41±3.64 μg/L) (p<0.05). The abnormal proportion of serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT) in the exposure group (33.8%) was significantly higher than that in the control group (13.8%) (p<0.01). Moreover, the abnormal proportion of serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT) in the exposure group (12.2%) was also higher than that in the control group (5.2%). Furthermore, the subjects in the exposure group had a higher proportion of methylated DNA both in p16 and p53 genes (68.9%) than those in the control group (55.9%) (p=0.096).

Conclusions: In conclusion, this study indicated the liver function and DNA hypermethylation status should be particularly concerned for arsenic exposure workers in semiconductor and electro-optics.

SR-402-02 Asbestos Manufacturing Industries - Analyzing 80 Years of Exposure Data

Z. Capshaw, E. Hsu, G. Anderson, C. Barlow, Cardno ChemRisk, Boulder, CO

Objective: During the early-to-mid 20th century, individuals working in asbestos product manufacturing industries had opportunities for high exposures to asbestos fibers. These exposures may still occur today in developing countries where asbestos manufacturing industries still exist. Although industrial hygienists have historically characterized the exposures in these industries on an individual level, to date there has been no attempt to assimilate this literature and analyze large scale trends in the data. The objective of this work was to aggregate all available asbestos exposure literature for asbestos product manufacturing industries in order to observe trends across industry, process, time, and country.

Methods: A comprehensive literature review was conducted of all publicly available documents that contained exposure data on three different manufacturing settings: textiles, cement, and friction products. The data was coded based on comparable exposure groups, aggregated, and then stratified by several variables including industry, time period, and country. Exposure controls and trends in exposure over time were compared with the applicable contemporaneous exposure guidelines and regulations.

Results: The studies included in the review spanned over 80 years and were conducted in seven different countries. In general, workers in the textile industry experienced the highest exposures in all phases of production. For friction and cement manufacturing workers, the highest exposures occurred during the tasks associated with the processing phase and the fiber preparation phase, respectively. Workers handling raw fiber had much higher exposures than other process workers, who in turn had higher exposures than clerical and maintenance staff. Exposures in U.S. and European manufacturing settings steadily decreased over time across all industries and tasks, as regulations and knowledge increased. However, recent studies confirmed that current exposures in developing nations may still be excessive.

Conclusions: More industrial hygiene professionals and programs, regulations, and enforcement are likely needed in the asbestos industry within developing countries. By following the example set by the U.S. and Europe in this respect, these countries will be better able to protect the health of workers.

SR-402-03 Petroleum Refinery Worker Oil Mist Exposure Evaluation

P. Owens, Shell Oil Company, Martinez, CA

Objective: Within this petroleum refinery rotating equipment is lubricated continuously with an oil mist generated from a special system. The oil mist system delivers lubricating mist to the open atmosphere within millimeters of the surface of the bearing. While some of the oil mist contacts the bearings, the problem is some of it enters the atmosphere. Petroleum refinery workers sometimes observe visual oil mist ‘haze’ around rotating equipment and throughout an area with many oil mist release points. Workers have asked whether the oil mist exposure exceeds exposure limits.

Methods: To resolve the question of exposure, full-shift and grab ambient air area samples were collected where oil mist concentrations were anticipated to be highest. One sample was analyzed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons to determine if any oil mist contacting the bearings converted molecular structure. Several particle size grab samples were collected to examine oil mist droplet size.

Results: The full-shift area air sample results were well below the exposure limit. The modeling estimates were relatively close to the sample results albeit slightly higher concentrations. One sample analyzed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons failed to detect any of these compounds. Given the inaccuracies with the oil mist droplet size analysis, these generally show mist diameters less than 10 microns.

Conclusions: Contrary to visual appearances, our lesson learned was the presence of visual haze within a process unit does not necessarily indicate a hazardous concentration of airborne oil mist. The particle size of the oil mist appears to effectively scatter light so the visual appearance exceeds true mass concentration of oil mist.

SR-402-04 The Effects of Silica Exposure on Cardiac and Renal Inflammatory and Fibrotic Response and the Antagonistic Role of interleukin-1 beta in C57BL/6 Mice

T. Shi, Hubei Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Wuhan, China

Objective: Current epidemiological studies suggest that crystalline silica exposure is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and renal disease, however, the potential pathological damage of the heart and kidney and its underlying mechanisms have not been completely elucidated. This study tried to investigate the silica-induced inflammatory and fibrotic changes of the heart and kidney and evaluate the role of interleukin (IL)-1beta (β) in silica-induced cardiac and renal damage.

Methods: In this study, a silica-exposed model was generated by intratracheally instilling silica dust in mice. The anti-IL-1β monoclonal antibody (mAb) was used to neutralise IL-1β  in the pulmonary alveolus and serum. The mice were randomly divided into four groups: the blank control, silica exposure, the silica+Ab and the silica+C-Ab group. Each group consisted of 32 mice and each group was further subdivided into four groups (n=8 for each group) for days 1, 7, 28 and 84 after treatment.

Results: The real-time PCR studies showed that 1) inhalational silica induced inflammatory responses in the heart and kidney by elevated mRNA levels of TNF-β, IL-6 and MCP-1; 2) early fibrotic responses in the heart were observed as elevated mRNA levels of collagen β and fibronectin. What’s more, fibrosis of the kidney was demonstrated by pathological results and significantly increased mRNA levels of TGF-β, collagen β, collagen III and fibronectin. Further studies showed that usage of anti-IL-1β mAb decreased the inflammatory response of the heart and kidney induced by inhalational silica and also attenuated fibrosis in the mouse kidney.

Conclusions: This study found that inhaled silica induced inflammatory and early fibrotic responses in the mouse heart, and inflammatory response and fibrosis in the mouse kidney. Neutralisation of IL-1β attenuated the silica-induced inflammatory response of the heart and kidney and decreased fibrosis in the mouse kidney.

SR-402-05 Use of High Level Disinfectants in Healthcare: A Survey of Precautionary Practices

S. Henn, J. Boiano, A. Steege, NIOSH, Cincinnati, OH

Objective: The primary objective of this study was to describe the precautionary practices, including exposure controls, among healthcare workers who use high level disinfectants (HLDs) to disinfect medical and dental devices, identification of barriers to using personal protective equipment (PPE) during handling of HLDs, and to characterize current use of specific HLDs. HLDs are used in healthcare to chemically disinfect reusable, semi-critical medical and dental devices to control and prevent healthcare associated infections among patient populations. Healthcare workers who use HLDs are at risk of being exposed to these chemicals, some of which are recognized as respiratory and skin irritants and sensitizers.

Methods: NIOSH conducted a web-based survey of healthcare workers in 2011. The study population included members of professional practice organizations who indicated that they handled HLDs in the past seven calendar days. Participating organizations invited either all or a random sample of members via email which included a hyperlink to the survey. Descriptive analyses of the survey results were conducted including simple frequencies and prevalences.

Results: A total of 4,657 respondents completed the survey. HLDs used most often were glutaraldehyde (59%), peracetic acid (16%), and ortho-phthalaldehyde (15%). Among the survey respondents 19% reported their employer lacked or that they were unaware of standard procedures for handling of HLDs while 17% reported having never received training on the safe handling of HLDs. Failure to wear recommended PPE was reported for water-resistant gown (44%) and protective gloves (9%). The most commonly reported reason for not wearing PPE was ‘minimal exposure’. Twelve percent of respondents reported skin contact with HLDs within the previous seven days. Respondents reporting skin exposure were four times more likely not to wear gloves. A spill or leak of HLDs in the previous seven days was reported by 5% of respondents.

Conclusions: Findings indicated precautionary practices were not always used, underscoring the importance of improved training and education on HLD hazards among employers and workers.

SR-402-06 Use of Precautionary Practices Reported by Nurses and Pharmacy Personnel Who Compound Antineoplastic Drugs

J. Boiano, A. Steege, M. Sweeney, NIOSH, Cincinnati, OH

Objective: Precautionary guidelines detailing standards of practice and equipment to minimize exposure to antineoplastic drugs during handling activities have been available for nearly three decades. The purpose of this study was to describe work conditions and practices including availability and use of exposure controls and barriers to using personal protective equipment by healthcare workers who prepare chemotherapy drugs. This survey is the first to examine use of engineering and administrative controls among pharmacy professionals.

Methods: Several professional practice organizations representing pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and oncology nurses collaborated with NIOSH to develop and implement the survey. Organizations invited members via email with a link to the anonymous web-based survey.

Results: 241 nurses and 183 pharmacy professionals who compounded antineoplastic drugs in the past week completed the survey. Lack of universal adherence to recommended guidelines, reported by nurses and pharmacy professionals respectively, include: failure to always use engineering controls including closed-system drug transfer devices (75%, 53%), biological safety cabinets (11%, 23%) and needleless systems (59%, 75%); failure to always wear non-absorbent gown with closed front and tight cuffs (38%, 20%) or chemotherapy gloves (8%, 10%); I.V. lines sometimes/always primed with antineoplastic agent (19%, 30%) instead of non-drug solution; taking home potentially contaminated clothing (24%, 9%); and lack of hazard awareness training (9%, 13%). Sixty-one percent of nurses and 45% of pharmacy professionals reported that their employer did not provide a medical surveillance program. The most common reason for not wearing chemotherapy gloves by both groups was “skin exposure was minimal.” Top reasons for not wearing protective gowns were: “not part of our protocol” (nurses) and “an engineering control was being used” (pharmacy professionals). However, 11% of nurses and 4% of pharmacy professionals reported skin contact with antineoplastic drugs during the past week.

Conclusions: Despite the long-standing availability of safe handling guidance recommended practices are not always followed placing workers, co-workers, and even family members at risk. Employers and healthcare workers share responsibility for ensuring safe compounding of antineoplastic drugs. Study findings can be used to raise awareness of hazards and exposure controls among both groups.

SR-402-07 Exposure Evaluation and Control of Acetone in a Plastination Laboratory

M. Valigosky, S. Milz, S. Rohrs, F. Akbar-Khanzadeh, A. Ames, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH

Objective: Occupational exposure monitoring to acetone was conducted in a university laboratory that specializes in the process of plastination, a unique method of specimen preservation. Exposure to acetone occurs during the dehydration and transferring of specimens to and from large, open-top vats of acetone. This study evaluated four different ventilation systems to determine the most effective method for removing acetone vapors, decreasing LEL and reducing occupational exposures below acceptable occupational exposure limits. General ventilation, increase in negative pressure in general ventilation, and two local exhaust ventilation systems were evaluated.

Methods: Exposure sampling was conducted during 2012–2013 using a handheld volatile organic compound (VOC) detector with a photoionization detector (PID) that ranges from 0 to 10,000 ppm (MiniRAE 2000, RAE Systems). The instrument was calibrated with isobutylene. The acetone correction factor was applied to accurately measure acetone vapor exposure. Exposure concentrations were logged during the entire specimen transfer process, typically 10 to 60 minutes. ProRAE-Suite was used to calculate the STEL and TWA of exposure to acetone. Comparisons of all four ventilation designs were used to determine which system provided the most effective means of control.

Results: Ventilation Design 1 used general exhaust as the primary method of removing acetone vapors and resulted in a STEL of 1420 ppm. In comparison, Ventilation Design 4 was a slotted hood and make-up air system with dedicated fans. The resulting changes to the ventilation design proved successful as the STEL was reduced to 714 ppm. This is below the ACGIH STEL for acetone (750 ppm), and is nearly half of the original STEL with Ventilation Design 1. The highest calculated 8-hr TWA was 48 ppm, well below the OSHA PEL of 1000 ppm and ACGIH TLV of 500 ppm.

Conclusions: The final ventilation design was determined to be the most effective at reducing acetone exposure and eliminating potentially explosive atmospheres. The results indicated a slotted hood with dedicated exhaust and supply fan was the most effective at reducing exposure and removing acetone vapors from the workplace.

SR-402-08 Identification of Chemicals and By-products Generated from Semiconductor Photo-lithography Process

K. Shin, J. Hong, H. Jung, K. Kim, D. Kim, Samsung Electronics, Yong-in, Republic of Korea

Objective: A photosensitive material called PR(photoresist) is used in Semiconductor photo-lithography process. Since the components of PR are the core technology of the PR material, the components are kept as trade secret by PR manufacturing companies. Thus, it is necessary to verify safety of photo-lithography process in health’s point of view. In this study, the uncertainty of the hazard of photo-lithography process will be resolved by confirming the by-products. More specifically, the study is focused on figuring out if any by-products may possibly cause hematopoietic and lymphatic cancers or not.

Methods: A qualitative analysis on the PR components and by-products produced in photo-lithography process were evaluated. Analysis of the by-products was performed under equivalent condition as the real photo-lithography process, by detection of out-gassing in each step of photo-lithography process (PR coating, soft bake, exposure, post exposure bake). 5975C GC/MSD tool interconnected to Agilent 7890A GC system and Teledyne Tekmar HT3 Headspace tool were used. PR is categorized in 3 different groups, including I-line, KrF and ArF PR. And 4 I-line PR, 5 KrF PR and 5 ArF PR samples were selected for this study which are used most commonly in two semiconductor workplaces.

Results: As a result of this study on PR components and by-products of photo-lithography process, 39 chemicals in I-line PR, 25 chemicals in KrF PR and 23 chemicals in ArF PR were detected through analysis. Further study was executed on whether the detected chemicals include any hematopoietic and lymphatic cancers causing chemicals categorized by IARC or not. In conclusion, there were no chemicals that cause hematopoietic and lymphatic cancers (benzene, formaldehyde, ethylene oxide, etc) among the chemicals identified in this study.

Conclusions: 39 chemicals were found in I-line PR, 25 chemicals in KrF PR and 23 chemicals in ArF PR. However, it was verified that there are no direct relationship between semiconductor photo-lithography process and hematopoietic and lymphatic cancers. In results, the uncertainty of the hazard of photo-lithography process is resolved. Future studies will be continued on other toxicity (CMR, etc), and if such hazardous chemicals are found, exposure assessment will be held to confirm whether the workers are exposed to them. Although exposure assessment was not performed, this study on the identification of possible hazard chemicals is still meaningful by itself.

CS-402-09 Case Study of Several Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Assessments Which Identify Non-traditional Causes/Agents Associated with the Described Complaints/Symptoms/Concerns of Office Occupants

M. Heaney, Liberty Mutual Group, Bedford, NH

Situation/Problem: This poster session is a discussion of several case studies of Indoor Air Quality assessments that were determined through the on-site investigation to involve agents which are not traditionally associated with poor air quality. It was determined that a more detailed and creative assessment strategy is warranted to identify causes of unusual odors, rashes/insect bites and incidents of headaches.

Resolution: The purpose of these Industrial Hygiene Indoor Air Quality Assessments/Investigations was: -To obtain information on the employee complaints/concerns as they related to the office environment through employee interviews and by conducting an on-site evaluation. -To review the building’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning System, obtain readings of general Indoor Air Quality parameters and to investigate possible contributing factors associated with the symptoms/concerns. -To identify possible causes either from internal (within the building) or external (outside the building) contaminant source(s) for the symptoms/complaints/concerns related to the respective office environment. and -To identify corrective action(s) to remove the suspected “cause” for the symptoms/complaints/concerns. 

Results: Industrial Hygiene investigations of concerns/complaints/symptoms that were initially believed to be related to poor Indoor Air Quality, turned out to be caused by agents such as insects (yellow sac spiders), rodents (lizards aka “skinks”) and a lack of adequate lighting. Some of conclusions were developed immediately, and some conclusions may involve the use of outside experts (pest control and a local zoo) to help specify the causative agent. 

Lessons Learned: Employee concerns/complaints/symptoms may be presented to an industrial hygienist as an “Indoor Air Quality” issue. Once an investigation takes place, the actual issue/cause for the complaint might be related to physical (noise or lighting) or biological (in these cases, insect or rodent) in nature. Utilization of good industrial hygiene hazard assessment methods can yield a positive outcome in these non-conventional Indoor Air Quality assessments by thinking outside of the box and considering causative agents that may not be typically associated with poor indoor air quality. 

SR-402-10 Determinations of the Indoor Air Quality in Hairdressing Salons in Taipei

C. Chang, W. Tseng, C. Chang, S. Tsai, Institute of Environmental Health, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

Objective: Various cosmetic hair products are constantly used in hairdressing salons. Aside from skin absorption, different hazards may be released during hair treatments. Previous studies have indicated that increased risks of cancers, respiratory symptoms, reproductive disorders, and skin symptoms were found among hairdressers. However, the exposure assessments are few. To assess the hairdressing environment in Taipei, the walk-through survey and air sampling of formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and phthalates were performed in this study.

Methods: Charcoal, XAD-2, and OVS-Tenax tubes were used for the air sampling, and the flow rates were 50 mL min-1, 100 mL min-1, and 1000 mL min-1, respectively. Both 5-hour average environmental sampling and customer’s personal sampling during hair treatments were performed. After absorbents were desorbed, the samples were analyzed with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. A direct-reading device was used to observe changes of formaldehyde concentrations during opening hours. Meanwhile, environmental characteristics and products ingredients were also recorded in this study.

Results: Ten hairdressing salons were included for walk-through survey, and 5 salons were involved for field sampling. There were total 89 environmental samples, 12 customer’s personal samples, and 72 short-term formaldehyde samples. As for the results of air sampling, formaldehyde concentrations was ranged from 0.01 to 1.04 mg m-3, and the maximum level was above the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of American Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Additionally, about 16.67 % samples exceeded action level, and 83.33 % levels were higher than the recommendation of World Health Organization (WHO). For VOCs and phthalate esters, some levels measured were higher than the concentrations of general indoor environments reported by earlier research. The results of short-term formaldehyde concentrations showed that chemicals might accumulate in hair salons during opening hours.

Conclusions: The results indicated that airborne chemical exposure, especially formaldehyde, is the problem worthy of attention in hairdressing salons. Therefore, monitoring the indoor air quality, giving workers health educations, choosing the safe products, and increasing the ventilation rates are all crucial to minimize the exposure in hairdressing environments.

SR-402-11 Endotoxin in Urban Homes: Health Effects and Home Conditions

J. Crawford, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY; P. Rosenbaum, J. Abraham, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY; A. Hunt, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX

Objective: Endotoxin is a component of gram-negative bacteria capable of causing a strong inflammatory response. Endotoxin exposure can exacerbate asthma and respiratory symptoms but may also protect against the development of allergic responses. Low-income urban areas are of concern because of high child asthma rates. This study sought to determine the distribution of endotoxin concentration in house dust of homes of infants in low income areas of Syracuse, NY. We investigated whether endotoxin exposure was related to wheezing and eczema incidence among these infants and whether home conditions predicted endotoxin concentrations.

Methods: 101 homes were inspected and house dust was collected by vacuum. Samples were analyzed for endotoxin with the limulus amebocyte lysate test. Infant health was evaluated at home visits by a nurse practitioner and through medical record review. Multivariable logistic regression was used to relate endotoxin levels and health effects (episodes of wheeze or eczema). Multiple linear regression was used to relate endotoxin levels and household conditions.

Results: The geometric mean concentration was 76 EU/mg (endotoxin units/mg dust) range (8.4 - 658 EU/mg). Multiple linear regression showed that significant predictors of endotoxin (p<0.05) were high relative humidity, fall season, housekeeping issues, baby’s race and a dog in the home. Infants exposed to the highest endotoxin concentrations (4th quartile), had three times the risk of wheeze compared with infants in the lowest quartile (OR 3.19 95% CI 1.0–10.2). After adjustment for birth season, baby gender, baby’s race and Medicaid insurance, the endotoxin-wheeze relationship was attenuated and was no longer significant. Eczema risk did not differ by quartile of endotoxin concentration. The odds ratio point estimates were all <1, showing a tendency for reduced eczema risk, but results were not significant at p<0.05.

Conclusions: The major predictors of endotoxin in household dust were fall season, relative humidity, housekeeping issues, race, and dogs in the home. Endotoxin was not associated with eczema in this cohort. High endotoxin concentration was related to episodes of infant wheeze; however the positive association was partially explained by perinatal and socioeconomic factors.

CS-402-12 Performance of Specified Indoor Air Quality Investigations with Site Monitoring including Airborne Chemical Substances and Microbial Agents to Address Client Goals Related to Potential Workplace Exposures, Resolution of Odor Complaints, and Response to Reported Personnel Concerns

J. Koehn, L. McKelvey, W. Young, JK, Inc., Houston, TX

Situation/Problem: Industrial hygiene consulting services were requested by a variety of Clients to address indoor air quality (IAQ) assessments in numerous types of workplaces within Houston, Texas during 2012–2014. Specific proactive IAQ monitoring work was performed for multi-story office complexes and hospitals involving implementation of defined airborne sampling strategies including determination of microbial agents. Reactive responses were often conducted for public facilities, tenant offices, and also school districts. Industrial hygiene challenges were encountered to meet the needs of facility management Clients and impacted personnel involving strategy development, data documentation, interpretation, and hazard communication.

Resolution: Proactive as well as reactive IAQ and other workplace monitoring projects are routinely performed as site industrial hygiene investigations for Clients. Published sampling and analytical methods are researched to best meet the specific site needs and provide pertinent monitoring data for workplace assessment and other outlined project goals. Various criteria routinely included are: basic IAQ parameters, microbial agents (i.e. culturable versus non-culturable methods), specific chemical substances or particulates, and use of direct-reading instruments for an outlined airborne strategy and thorough site investigation.

Results: Project monitoring of numerous workplaces is routinely addressed within multi-tenant office buildings, schools, industrial plant and office settings, and specific incident response criteria as needed. Assessment results are summarized and report documents prepared to record existing potential occupational exposures for review and consideration by the Client with recommendations provided to assist with resolution and/or additional areas of investigation.

Lessons Learned: A range of assessment techniques can be utilized to provide IAQ data from project site investigations for various occupational environments. Specific industrial hygiene and IAQ knowledge involving referenced methodologies along with subsequent data interpretation are employed to address the outlined facility management needs and provide project documentation and hazard communication information for appropriate work site assessment. Client budgets must be considered to best meet the project workplace monitoring goals along with anticipated resolution of personnel exposure concerns or nuisance issues.

CS-402-13 Ventilation Renovation Disconnect

S. Ahrenholz, R. Niemeier, NIOSH, Cincinnati, OH

Situation/Problem: NIOSH received a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) request to evaluate the potential for TB transmission at a detainee processing facility. Immigration and customs enforcement officers process detainees whose tuberculosis disease (TB) status may not be known. Concerns existed that the ventilation system in the facility was inadequate to reduce potential for TB transmission. HHE investigators found that return air from the detainee areas, including an isolation holding room, mixed with return air for the rest of the building. The detainee processing area was under positive pressure relative to other parts of the building.

Resolution: HHE final report recommendations were reportedly used to develop building renovation plans. NIOSH investigators did a followback site visit to visually inspect and measure air flows of new ventilation systems using a flow hood, smoke tubes, and micromanometer. Building systems were undergoing start-up and refinement of system operation following completion of renovation and re-occupancy of the building during the NIOSH follow back site visit.

Results: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for reducing recirculation of return air from detainee processing, detention cell, and isolation rooms were not met by the new ventilation systems. Air changes per hour (ACH) were less than the 12 recommended for general ventilation to facilitate TB prevention and control. Ventilation systems serving the detainee processing area and office areas of the building overlapped. A review of renovation plans disclosed design specifications used for the new ventilation systems conformed to local building code ACHs instead of the higher levels for TB control.

Lessons Learned: Ventilation system plans must be reviewed and revised prior to final approval and construction to ensure specified ventilation system ACHs, configuration, and areas served conform to additional requirements for TB prevention and control. Ventilation system design and construction to meet required building codes may not meet requirements for specialized applications.

CS-402-14 Aircraft Cabin Crew Noise Exposure

R. Higley, ESIS, Corona, CA

Situation/Problem: In 2012, a Memorandum of Understanding between the FAA and OSHA gave OSHA jurisdiction on noise exposure for cabin flight crews for commercial aircraft. This resulted in airlines needing to determine if their cabin flight attendants would be required to participate in a Hearing Conservation Program (HCP). One airline came to ESIS requesting assistance to determine if their flight attendants are exposed to noise above the Action Level of 85 dBA TWA. 

Resolution: The airline operates regional jets and propeller driven aircraft with flights lasting from less than an hour up to 3 hours. Initial data gathered by the airline indicated that the smallest regional jet and the propeller driven aircraft have the greatest noise exposure. Initial problem - identify the “average” work day and noise exposure to cabin crew. Break down crew work days into segments - time in the terminal, tarmac, pre-take off, taxi, take-off, cruise, descent, landing, taxiing and layover in the terminal. While no day is “typical”, an effort was made to evaluate the noise exposure for an 8 hour day. Note that cabin crew are provided with hearing protection for use at their discretion. Casella Cel 350 Dosimeters were used to evaluate cabin crew noise exposure. Total of 11 measurements obtained over a 3 day period. Cabin crew members were provided with the dosimeters and trained on how to operate the dosimeters as they would have layovers including overnight stays in other cities. Upon return, information from the dosimeters was downloaded to a computer program and recorded. Flight attendants were interviewed following their trips to help determine noise sources, exposure times etc. 

Results: Measured average noise exposures ranged from 78-84 dBA TWA for the propeller driven aircraft. While the average noise exposures fall below the requirements for a Hearing Conservation Program, segments of the flight (take off, cruise) had noise levels approaching and in some cases, exceeding 90 dBA. The use of hearing protection is encouraged during at least these flight segments. Measured noise exposures for the jet aircraft was 77 dBA TWA. A formal Hearing Conservation Program was not mandatory.

Lessons Learned: Predicting cabin crew noise exposure can be challenging given the widely varying schedules and crew assignments. Identifying and evaluating the ‘worst case’ exposures assures that appropriate controls are being implemented to help protect cabin crew members hearing.

SR-402-15 Environmental Noise Impacting a Neighborhood near a Higher Education Research Facility

A. Ames, M. Valigosky, S. Milz, T. Hagood, R. Roberts, F. Akbar-Khanzadeh, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH

Objective: Noise within the occupational environment can easily affect surrounding neighborhoods. This may cause discomfort in local residents and subsequent complaints. This study investigated whether noise initiated in a Higher Education site had an unfavorable effect on local neighborhoods. The sources of noise were evaluated to determine whether the noise levels may create excessive exposure to the residents. The study focused on the noise levels generated from HVAC equipment including a cooling tower, generators, rotating machinery and other mechanical sources at the Higher Education site.

Methods: Noise levels were measured using a set of dosimeters (Larson Davis Spark 705+) in and around potential noise sources and at a property bordering the Higher Education site. Nine days of sampling were performed over three months (May-July) during 2013. Dosimeters were programmed to record noise for 24 hours a day (at one minute intervals), using ACGIH and OSHA dosimeter parameters. The dosimeters were calibrated using a Larson Davis CAL150. Data from the instruments were uploaded to Blaze software and exported for analysis in SPSS Statistical Package.

Results: The findings indicated significant variations in noise levels depending on the monitoring location and time of day. The minute-average noise levels [Mean±SD (Min-Max)] in terms of Leq (dBA) of daytime noise levels at the residential property line, summarized by equipment status included: 60.2±2.67 (53.0-71.2), cooling tower off, generator off; 74.3±0.76 (70.8-74.7) cooling tower off, generator on; 62.3±1.30 (60.4-90.1) cooling tower low operation, generator off; 77.0±1.02 (71.3-77.9) cooling tower low operation, generator on; and 68.7±1.57 (66.9-74.5) cooling tower high operation, generator off. The Mean±SD (Min-Max) in dBA of observed nighttime noise levels at the residential property line included: 63.0±1.69 (58.3-66.9), cooling tower off, generator off and 61.9±0.43 (61.1-68.7) cooling tower low operation, generator off.

Conclusions: Based on the noise ordinance for the city, noise levels within a residential area must not exceed 60 dBA between the hours of 7 am and 10 pm or 55 dBA between the hours of 10 pm and 7 am. The noise levels measured at the residential property line were affected by the noise emissions. The results from this study suggested a possible violation of the city’s noise ordinances and required a remediation program to return to continuous compliance.

SR-402-16 Task Specific Noise Levels during Live Fire Training

L. Gilbertson, D. Vosburgh, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Whitewater, WI

Objective: Previous research shows that firefighters are at an increased risk for noise induced hearing loss and operate equipment with noise levels greater than 85 dB. However, it is often reported that firefighters do not reach an eight hour time weighted average (TWA) of 85 dB or greater. The high variability in occupational tasks and intermittent noise exposure of firefighters offers an explanation for the low eight hour TWA. The current study aims to evaluate specific occupational tasks and shift responsibilities that present the greatest risk to the hearing health of firefighters during a live training exercise.

Methods: Three volunteer firefighters wore a noise dosimeter during a four hour live fire training exercise. Each firefighter had different overall shift responsibilities: run the pump on the engine, control operations near the fire scene, or operate communication in the engine. In addition to noise dosimeter measurements, a member of the study team recorded the occupational activities of the firefighters and the time when they occurred in order to link the task with specific noise levels recorded during the corresponding time on the dosimeter.

Results: Analysis of the data revealed that the three occupational tasks with the highest noise levels were the operation of the water pump on the fire engine (89 dBA), traveling time in one of the three fire engines (86 dBA), and clean up at the fire house (84 dBA). There were significant differences between the noise levels of the three engines during the travel to and from the fire station to the live fire training site (p = 0.004). The firefighter responsible for operating the water pump on the engine recorded the highest TWA (86 dBA). The activity closest to the fire, as measured by the firefighter responsible for controlling ground operation on scene, recorded a TWA of 80 dBA. The tasks conducted inside the cab of the engine while on scene recorded a TWA of 77 dBA.

Conclusions: In the current study, the occupational activity that posed the greatest risk to firefighters’ hearing health was the operation of the water pump on the engine. The firefighter who ran the pump on the engine would need to be enrolled in a hearing conservation program if his 4 hour TWA were continued for a full 8 hours. Results support hearing conservation plans for firefighters that are routinely responsible for high noise level tasks during their shift.

SR-402-17 Using Commercially Available Smartphones to Measure Occupational Noise Exposure

B. Roberts,R. Neitzel, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI

Objective: Occupational noise exposure is one of the most frequent hazards present in the workplace; up to 22 million workers have potentially hazardous noise exposures in the U.S. As a result, noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common occupational injuries in the United States, and workers in manufacturing, construction, and the military are at especially high risk for hearing loss. Despite the large number of people exposed to high levels of noise at work, many professions have not been adequately evaluated for noise exposure. In 2014, a study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found evidence that certain smartphone applications maybe suitable for noise monitoring. The objective of this experiment was to investigate whether or not smartphones could be used as reliable instruments to measure time-integrated noise exposures.

Methods: For this study three different types of microphones were tested with a single model of smartphone: the internal microphones on the phone, a low-end lapel microphone, and a high-end lapel microphone marketed as ANSI type 2-compliant. All possible combinations of microphones and multiple time-integrating smartphone noise measurement applications were tested in a controlled environment using several different levels of pink noise. Results were compared to noise measured using a Type 2 sound level meter. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Tukey’s HSD test was used to determine if the results differed by microphone or noise measurement application.

Results: Few smartphone applications capable of time-integrated noise measurements are currently commercially available. Measured noise levels were found to differ between noise measurement applications. Measurements made with high-end lapel microphones combined with certain noise measurement applications did not differ significantly from measurements made with the Type 2 sound level meter.

Conclusions: It may be possible for certain smartphones, with the proper applications and external microphones, to be used to collect reliable, time-integrated occupational noise exposure data. Further research is needed to determine how these devices compare to traditional noise dosimeter devices under real-world conditions.​