4057.0: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - Board 2

Abstract #21800

Chemical hazards in auto repair and body shops: Information from (and about) material safety data sheets

Myra L. Karstadt, PhD, Department of Community Medicine, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York, 1 Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY, (301) 652-1540, myrakarstadt@erols.com

Auto repair and body shops use a wide variety of chemicals, some of which are hazardous to health. In 1980, the author initiated a study of chemical hazards in repair and body shops whose workers are represented by Local 259, United Auto Workers. The Local represents workers in shops located in New York City and its suburbs. Local 259's members are unusual in that private sector auto repair and body shops are rarely unionized, so this research effort offers a unique opportunity to obtain information on chemical exposures in an important group of small businesses.

This report updates the 1980 study, and subsequent (1987, 1990) requests for material safety data sheets from marketers of products used in Local 259 shops. Material safety data sheets for products currently used were requested by the Local in late 2999 and early 2001.

Results of our earlier reviews of material safety data sheets indicated that workers were using products containing chemicals such as methylene chloride, trichloroethylene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and propane-isobutane propellant. Changes in product composition have reflected concerns about health and environmental hazards, as well as controls placed on certain chemicals. Replacements for phased-out chemicals are discussed.

In addition to providing information on chemical constituents of products, this review offers an opportunity to assess how well material safety data sheets present data on health hazards. Inadequacies in material safety data sheets reflect inadequacies in the Hazard Communication standard itself, and flaws in implementation of the standard.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will have an increased understanding of chemical hazards in auto repair and body shops, and problems associated with presentation of health hazard data on material safety data sheets. Faculty will present information on chemical hazards in auto repair and body shops and limitations on data retrieval from material safety data sheets.

Keywords: Occupational Health, Occupational Exposure

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: Local 259, United Auto Workers, New York City
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 129th Annual Meeting of APHA