December 24, 1987
Information from OSHA Region III Philadelphia indicates that serious problems may exist from dichlorobenzidine (DCB) exposure to maintenance employees at pigment plants (OSHA regulates DCB as a carcinogen, 29 CFR 1910.1007).
Findings from a plant inspection indicate that other plants throughout the U.S.A. may be using similar to the same decontamination procedures used at the DCB plant described by the Philadelphia region. These decontamination procedures still are leaving significant amounts of DCB present. Maintenance employees may be exposed to an explosion hazard if burning, cutting or open flames (explosions have occurred twice) are present or performed near DCB blending tank ventilation ductwork from a build-up of unstable tetrazo compounds. The maintenance workers may use no protective equipment while being unknowingly exposed to DCB working in what they think are clean rooms or areas (see attachment).
Field personnel should be aware and become more familiar with the potential hazards discussed and other related problems associated with this type of pigment plant.
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