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Exposure to styrene and health complaints in the Dutch glass-reinforced plastics industry

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Author: Geuskens, R.B.M. · Klaauw, M.M. van der · Tuin, J. van der · Hemmen, J.J. van
Institution: Medisch Biologisch Laboratorium TNO
Source:Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 1, 36, 47-57
Identifier: 231846
Keywords: Biology · Industrial Hygiene - Netherlands · Plastics Industry - Netherlands · Plastics, Reinforced - Glass Fiber · Risk Studies - Occupational Risks · Styrene - Health Hazards · Exposure to Styrene · Glass Reinforced Plastics Industry · No Adverse Effect Level · Open Mould Techniques · Plastics Plants · Glass · Plastic · Styrene · Air quality control · Extraction · Health hazard · Health survey · Human · Major clinical study · Male · Netherlands · Occupational disease · Occupational exposure · Plastic industry · Vapor · Environmental Monitoring · Glass · Human · Maximum Allowable Concentration · Netherlands · Occupational Diseases · Occupations · Plastics · Questionnaires · Styrene · Styrenes · Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


A study of the health hazards for workers exposed to styrene in the Dutch glass-reinforced plastics industry was undertaken. The open mould techniques of filament winding, spraying and hand laminating were chosen for study because exposure of workers using them was expected to be high. Occupational hygiene surveys were conducted in four plants. In addition to measurements of exposure, data on health complaints were collected. In 12 smaller plants exposure was estimated in walk-through surveys. The results show that although most of the plants had implemented control measures such as ventilation and extraction, the levels or exposure constituted a health risk. Time-weighted average concentrations for workers involved in filament winding ranged from 134 to 716 mg m-3, for those who were spraying from 48 to 602 mg m-3 and for those laminating manually from 18 to 538 mg m-3. The 'no-adverse-effect level' based on effects observed in man is considered to be 105 mg m-3, and the acute subjective health effects experienced by the population studied supported this value. To reduce exposure to below 105 mg m-3, control measures should combine engineering with codes of practice adapted to the particular process or processes employed. Chemicals/CAS: styrene, 100-42-5; Glass; Plastics; Styrene, 100-42-5; Styrenes