Biological Monitoring

Biological monitoring is useful in determining the exposure and health risks experienced by workers. For example, a power company in New York State requested that its workers be monitored for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) exposure since the company's transformers still contained PCBs. Although modernization was underway to eliminate the PCBs, exposure continued. We performed an onsite investigation to evaluate the employees' duties and modes of exposure, one of which involved the workers placing their unprotected hands and arms into the transformers and the liquid inside. As a result of our on-site investigation and interviews with management and the field employees, we were able to make critical, health-driven, recommendations for:

  • changes in operational procedures,
  • procurement of appropriate protective gear, and
  • a comprehensive biological monitoring program for the power company employees to be used until the modernization upgrade was completed and PCB exposure eliminated.

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