Objectives: Employees in printing industries can be exposed to multiple solvents in their work environment. The objectives of this study were to investigate the critical components of chemical solvents by analyzing the components of the solvents and collecting the Safety data sheets (SDSs), and to evaluate the hazard communication implementation status in printing industries.
Method: About 152 printing-related industries were recruited by area-stratified random sampling and included 23 plate-making, 102 printing and 27 printing-assistance companies in Taiwan. We analyzed company questionnaires (n = 152), SDSs (n = 180), and solvents (n = 20) collected from this sample of printing-related companies.
Results: Analytical results indicated that benzene and ethylbenzene, which were carcinogen and possibly carcinogen, were detectable in the cleaning solvents, and the detection rate were 54.5% (concentrations: <0.011-0.035 wt%) and 63.6% (concentrations: <0.011-6.22 wt%), respectively; however, neither compound was disclosed in the SDS for the solvents. Several other undisclosed components, including methanol, isopropanol and n-butanol, were also identified in the printing inks, fountain solutions and dilution solvents. We noted that, of the companies we surveyed, only 57.2% had a hazard communication program, 61.8% had SDSs on file and 59.9% provided employee safety and health training. We note that hazard communication programs were missing or ineffective in almost half of the 152 printing industries surveyed.
Conclusions: Current safety information of solvents components in printing industries was inadequate, and many hazardous compounds were undisclosed in the SDSs of the solvents or the labels of the containers. The implementation of hazard communications in printing industries was still not enough for protecting the employees' safety and health.
Keywords: chemical solvents; hazard communication; printing industries; undisclosed components.
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Occupational Hygiene Society.