Document Detail

Exposures and health effects: an evaluation of workers at a sodium azide production plant.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  8876804     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Sodium azide is the principal gas-generating agent used to inflate automobile supplemental restraint systems, more commonly called airbags. Although sodium azide is known to affect the cardiovascular system by causing peripheral vasodilation, there is no published literature describing occupational exposures to sodium azide in the rapidly growing automobile airbag industry. In 1994-1995, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a cross-sectional study of health complaints reported by sodium azide production workers at the only continuous sodium azide production facility in the United States. The NIOSH evaluation consisted of a plant industrial hygiene survey, a symptom questionnaire, ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, and blood azide analysis. Personal breathing zone air monitoring revealed exposures to sodium azide and hydrazoic acid (a reactant product) at levels greater than the NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limits (RELs). In some cases, exposures exceeded the REL despite the use of air-supplied respirators. The questionnaire revealed that most workers reported headache (10 of 11 [91%]), episodes of low blood pressure (9 of 11 [82%]), and palpitations (8 of 11 [73%]) occurring in the production areas within the 6 months preceding the study. Mild headache (4 of 11 [36%]) was the only symptom reported during our 24-hr medical survey. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring revealed one asymptomatic employee with a drop in blood pressure (defined as a drop in systolic [at least 20 mm Hg] and diastolic [at least 10 mm Hg] blood pressure) during a period of exposure to sodium azide at a level five times the NIOSH REL. Improvements in plant engineering controls, increased attention to employee hygiene practices, and a more comprehensive respiratory protection program were recommendations made by NIOSH to reduce exposures at the plant. All facilities handling sodium azide should be aware of the potential toxicity of sodium azide and hydrazoic acid.
D Trout; E J Esswein; T Hales; K Brown; G Solomon; M Miller
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  American journal of industrial medicine     Volume:  30     ISSN:  0271-3586     ISO Abbreviation:  Am. J. Ind. Med.     Publication Date:  1996 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1997-02-05     Completed Date:  1997-02-05     Revised Date:  2006-02-27    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8101110     Medline TA:  Am J Ind Med     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  343-50     Citation Subset:  IM    
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Azides / adverse effects*,  analysis
Cardiovascular Diseases / blood,  chemically induced*,  physiopathology
Chemical Industry / standards,  statistics & numerical data*
Cross-Sectional Studies
Environmental Monitoring / standards,  statistics & numerical data
Headache / chemically induced
Hypotension / chemically induced
Occupational Diseases / blood,  chemically induced*,  physiopathology
Occupational Exposure* / adverse effects,  standards
Occupational Health
Protective Devices
Risk Assessment
Sodium Azide
Southwestern United States
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Azides; 26628-22-8/Sodium Azide; 7782-79-8/hydrazoic acid

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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