findings document exposure and bioavailability and suggest a hazard to workers. After the findings were presented, personal protective measures were put into place for the workers at this facility. Because the samples from all workers were pooled, it was not possible to evaluate whether concentrations of congeners were related to the probable extent of occupational exposure, duration of employment, or to potentially confounding exposures; analysis of these variables could have given greater confidence that the findings were attributable to the occupational environment rather than to other sources of the organic pollutants.

In 1992, staff of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) performed environmental sampling to investigate employee exposure to PCDDs, PCDFs, metals, and other substances at three New York City municipal-refuse incinerators (NIOSH 1995). Six area samples from working zones and five bulk fly-ash samples were collected and analyzed for PCDD and PCDF congeners, eight personal-breathing-zone samples and nine area samples were collected for metals during cleaning operations, and 10 samples were collected for respirable dust and silica. Airborne PCDD and PCDF concentrations for four of the six area samples from working zones exceeded the National Research Council guideline of 10 pg/m3 (one sample by a factor of 80); all four were collected during cleaning operations. The breathing-zone samples approached or exceeded the NIOSH and Occupational Safety and Health Administration criteria for arsenic, cadmium, lead, and nickel. Area samples collected near work locations exceeded relevant evaluation criteria for aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, lead, manganese, and nickel. One of 10 samples exceeded the NIOSH recommended exposure limit for respirable quartz by 50%. The airborne concentrations of aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead, and nickel during some periods of the cleanout of the electrostatic precipitator and of PCDDs and PCDFs during cleaning of the lower chamber were high enough to exceed the protection capabilities of the air-purifying respirators worn by the workers during these operations. On the basis of this evaluation, NIOSH staff concluded that working in cleanout operations at the incinerators poses a health hazard.

Malkin et al. (1992) analyzed blood samples from 56 high-pressure plant tenders working at three New York City incinerators. The duties of these workers—involving precipitator, upper- and lower-chamber, and undercarriage cleaning—were judged to be those with the highest potential exposure to lead. Blood samples were also obtained from a control group of 25 high-pressure plant tenders working at heating plants, where maintenance of boilers was involved. Although the average blood-lead concentration (11.0 µg/dL) of the incinerator workers was not high relative to concentrations associated with clinical abnormalities, they were statistically significantly higher than the average (7.4 µg/dL) in the comparison workers. When the variation in blood lead among incinerator workers was analyzed with multiple-regression modeling (incorporating age and cigarette smoking), workers who did not always wear protective devices or who cleaned the combustion chambers more times in the last year had statistically



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement