Journal Article

Occupational Cocaine Exposure of Crime Laboratory Personnel Preparing Training Aids for a Military Working Dog Program*

Jay M. Gehlhausen, Kevin L. Klette, Peter R. Stout and JoAnn Given

in Journal of Analytical Toxicology

Volume 27, issue 7, pages 453-458
Published in print October 2003 | ISSN: 0146-4760
Published online October 2003 | e-ISSN: 1945-2403 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jat/27.7.453
Occupational Cocaine Exposure of Crime Laboratory Personnel Preparing Training Aids for a Military Working Dog Program*

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The potential for passive cocaine exposure was evaluated in crime laboratory employees preparing training aids for a military working dog program (MWD). The primary goal of the study was to elucidate the routes of exposure and implement procedural changes that would minimize this risk. Several work environments and laboratory procedures were examined by monitoring personal breathing zones (PBZ), ambient airborne cocaine levels in the laboratory spaces, and urinary levels of the primary cocaine metabolite, benzoylecgonine. The study was performed initially using current laboratory procedures to establish a baseline and to identify potential sources of exposure. A subsequent study was performed to determine the effectiveness of the follow-up procedure in reducing exposure. As a result of the changes, the 8-h time weighted averages (TWAs) were 40 to 80% lower in the follow-up study as compared to the baseline assessment. Dermal absorption and PBZ inhalation of cocaine during manufacture were likely the most significant source of cocaine exposure. Ambient airborne cocaine may have also contributed to the total exposure, but for most observations, the concentrations were significantly less than those determined from PBZ monitoring. The maximum ambient cocaine concentration was 0.0144 mg/m3 compared to a maximum of 0.4004 mg/m3 observed during PBZ monitoring. Occupational exposure decreased in the follow-up study because of the proper use of personal protective equipment and improvements in engineering controls.

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Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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