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    Default ot---machinist skin

    I filed a workmans comp claim this week for a machinist
    entry into the trade---1978--Athol Mass
    his 3 year stint was limited to production of hole saws

    as we talked --he developed a far away look --as he described a skin condition affecting every operator in the turret lathe department--large, heavy blackheads---turret workforce being mostly women

    I recognized the disorder as chloracne--chloride acne-- a condition I encountered in journeymen pipefitters in the gulf coast shipyards--1960' and 70's

    cause related to chloride/flouride oil based cutting fluids

    and at the Athol firm--no suction pickup or ventilation was present in the turret lathe dept

    the larger unanswered question is---how could managers and executives witness
    evolving, preventable ,disfiguring facial deformities for which they were exclusively responsible

    a real letdown in my respect for a firm of highest global reputation

    generic images
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails chloracne.jpg   chlor2.jpg  

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    Hmmm, Athol based company that makes hole saws... But who could it be..??
    That's a shame. Considering the age / construction of the factory however, I'm not surprised there was no ventilation units, but thats not to say nothing could have been done. To bad they let this happen to their employees.

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    Maybe the pursuit of profit blinded the management to the occupational hazard, But where was the oversight which should have been uppermost in the watch of the occupational health and safety also? Sadly I was of the opinion such industrial illnesses, had vanished in the 1960 era with more operator friendly oils, In the U.K. a blight which on occasions affected turret and capstan lathe operators was Testicular cancer, due to the splash of lubrication oil permeating their garments, I also have heard that this used to affect the occasional steam locomotive driver, Due to not washing their hands after using steam oil, and going to the toilet Whether the industrial disease affecting locomotive drivers was true or an urban legend I am not sure.
    One thing for sure it is not nice to hear of anyone suffering.

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    I would recommend consulting a dermatologist if you have not already. Those chemicals on that list are NASTY period...

    Ask the dermatologist if there is a cream that you can use to create a protect layer to say.

    But for jeesless Christ I cannot believe they getting away with even being allowed to use them . Do they supply the correct PPE for you?

    I wish you the best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cutting oil Mac View Post
    Maybe the pursuit of profit blinded the management to the occupational hazard, But where was the oversight which should have been uppermost in the watch of the occupational health and safety also? Sadly I was of the opinion such industrial illnesses, had vanished in the 1960 era with more operator friendly oils, In the U.K. a blight which on occasions affected turret and capstan lathe operators was Testicular cancer, due to the splash of lubrication oil permeating their garments, I also have heard that this used to affect the occasional steam locomotive driver, Due to not washing their hands after using steam oil, and going to the toilet Whether the industrial disease affecting locomotive drivers was true or an urban legend I am not sure.
    One thing for sure it is not nice to hear of anyone suffering.
    Look up " Mule Spinners Cancer " Mac.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    There have been a lot of changes to the way mineral oil is refined, moving from acid refining to solvent and hydrotreatment refining. One example is the brand of hydraulic oil used in my lathe headstock: the oil is clear as water. I vaguely recall auto factory workers having cancers reduced when mineral oil shifted from sulphuric acid refining to solvent and hydrocracking refining. I avoid chlorine based cutting oils because of the toxicity issues and have a few fans over the lathes for better ventilation. Also maintenance of coolant fluids is a contributor to worker health.
    Last edited by SAG 180; 04-20-2019 at 12:36 AM.

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    What causes chloracne?
    Chloracne is caused by exposure to halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons, which are most often found in:

    Fungicides
    Insecticides
    Herbicides
    Wood preservatives
    Chloracne is the most common skin sign of dioxin poisoning. Responsible chemicals include:

    Chlornaphthalene
    Polychlorbiphenyls (PCBc)
    Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs)
    Polychlorinated dibenzofurone (PCDFs)
    Chlorophenol contaminants
    Trifluoromethyls
    Pyrazole derivatives
    Chlorobenzene

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    PCB s were commonly added to cutting oils to make them more fire resistant....the GM hydramatic transmission factory was said to have burnt out due to cutting oil in machines burning.

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    Yikes (those photos).

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    PCB's were widely used for providing more fire resistant oils. A major use of PCB containing oils was in large oil filled power transformers and in oil circuit breakers. I worked in powerplants where the PCB containing equipment existed. The PCB containing equipment- some transformers, and some oil circuit breakers- was of a size that it could be removed intact and sent off site for disposal. The concrete floors and the gravel and soil out in the switchyards where the PCB containing equipment had been located had to be cleaned up or decontaminated.

    Some of the PCB containing oils would be sent to a high temperature incineration facility for disposal. In NY State, there are two plants producing "popped shale" light aggregates for concrete. For some years, they would accept PCB containing oils and mix them with the fuel oil for the rotary kilns. Regulations tightened as far as cradle-to-grave chain of custody and final disposal methods, so I do not know where and how the PCB containing oils and PCB containing materials are disposed of nowadays.

    There was a manufacturing plant in Sidney, New York which started out as Scintilla Magneto, then became part of Bendix Aviation, and then part of Amphenol. People who worked there had a variety of ailments that followed them through what was left of their lives. Some developed various cancers. The word was that the production machine tools used constant flows of PCB containing coolants. We had one man at our powerplant who had formerly been a toolmaker at the Scintilla plant, and cancer took him out at a young age. The men who knew the Scintilla plant said that all the precision grinding and production machining was run with PCB containing coolants and the air itself was heavy with the mists from it and men who worked there were soaked in the stuff.

    Getting back to the hole-saw manufacturer: it is a sad commentary that the firm did not take notice of what was happening to their workers. Something as obvious as a disfiguring illness, assuming it was occurring to some numbers of working employees, should have raised a flag. On the other hand, the matter of "sole causation" enters the mix. In that part of New England, there were numerous other manufacturing plants doing all sorts of work and using all sorts of noxious substances. The maker of hole saws- not to take on their defense- may well have figured it was something in the local aquifer, or the people with the disfigurement might have worked in some other firms and been exposed to toxins there.

    OSHA did not come into the US workplace until around 1976. Prior to that, I think that each state formulated its own sets of workplace safety codes and regulations. These may well have been vague, and may have gone for the obvious- issues like machine guarding, personal protection for workers like eye protection or hearing protection. Issues like exposures to toxic substances probably were not on the radar as far as state or local safety rules. About the only concern for substances that might be harmful was likely related to flammability, low flash point, or corrosivity or potential for violent reactions. At the same point in time, we have to ask whether the health hazards associated with PCB's or whatever else was in the coolants in the hole saw manufacturer's plant were known and supported by published data.

    The old shops, as we know from working around old machine tools, took the view that safety was very much the worker's responsibility. This is evidenced by a complete lack of safety features on old machine tools- no safety warnings, no emergency shutoffs, no guards except on some of the otherwise open gearing. The effects of chemicals used in the workplace was not well known, let alone the long term effects. In a region such as Athol, MA, there were umpteen industrial plants making anything from tools to leather products, doing surface or pack hardening with cyanide compounds, doing foundry work with cupolas belching untreated coke stack emissions into the local air, leather working plants using all manner of tanning salts and dyes, and on it went. Firearms makers in New England were doing pack hardening/color case hardening on a production basis, and workers were hot-bluing firearms actions and barrels using a variety of chemical baths. Other than a hood with a vent stack over the worst of these areas- the heat treating areas and bluing tanks- I doubt much else was done to protect the workers. Certainly no one wore respirators or air-supplied masks when in the worst of it. A worker or even a resident of the area who did not actually work in the shops and factories was likely exposed to all sorts of toxins. Look at old youtubes of manufacturing even into the 50's and workers are seen spraying paint on various parts on a production basis without any protection other than maybe a particle filter mask. There were plating shops all over the region, doing chrome and nickel plating, and the chemicals used in the electroplating plants and resides in the plating baths are some of the worst toxins.

    In short, not to defend the maker of the hole saws, but they were doing what was the status quo for the area and the times. They may not have known of a causal link between the coolants they used and the ailments their workers developed. They may have seen so much of that sort of illness in the population, regardless of which plant the workers were employed at, that they did not look further into it.

    We will never know what discussions took place in the corporate offices as to incidences of employees developing this particular illness. It may well be that the corporate attorneys advised against taking any sort of notice of it for fear of opening the door for a class action lawsuit. Then, we come to the Workman's Compensation laws. In most states, Workman's Comp laws serve as a bar to further action on the part of workers injured or made ill in the workplace. The exception is being able to prove there was some "egregious breach" or "aggravated negligence" which caused workers to be injured or made ill as a result of workplace conditions.
    This is a very difficult standard to meet, and the usual defense on the part of employers or businesses named as the cause of the illnesses, is to claim they were not the "sole cause" of the workers' illnesses. With many other industries in the region, of which many used noxious or toxic substances, proving sole cause on the part of the hole saw manufacturer becomes almost impossible.

    Bear in mind, if you were to go to Athol, MA, you would find a classic old New England mill town. People are not affluent nor were they the types to go get a hotshot lawyer or law firm to go start an action against the manufacturers. There was also the fact that people who are born and raised in a town and have all their family and friends there are less likely to go after the major employer in the town, even if illness has occured while, or after, working in that firm's plant.

    The era when the OP's client or patient worked in Athol predated the era of the accident chasing law firms with huge advertisements. Note that the OP is working with the machinist to get a workman's comp claim filed. Not a huge award like the accident-chasing law firms would have us believe they routinely get for injured workers. More likely payment to cover disability or permanent impairment and medical treatment. It is good that 40 years after the fact, a claim for Workman's Comp can still be filed.

    Cutting Oil Mac: I am surprised to read of the supposed link between steam cylinder oil and testicular cancer. I always figured steam cylinder oil was more benign than most oils since it is "compounded" from tallow, rapeseed (a natural oil, also known as canola), and some mineral based oil stocks. I know I am not the only one who loves the aroma of warm steam cylinder oil. Something like gear lubricant with extreme pressure additives would seem the more likely cause of this sort of cancer.

    Not to make light of things, but we joke that "you can tell who is a real machinist because they have to wash their hands before using the urinal or toilet" (being polite). I keep a pump container of handcleaner with pumice in the laundry room sink at the ready. When I come up from my shop, or in from the garage to use the toilet, the first stop is to wash my hands. Who wants anything from sulphur/lard based cutting oil to pipe dope, Prussian Blue, grease, anti-seizing paste, or lapping compound on their private parts ? Of course, working on a steam locomotive, if an engine driver or fireman had to relieve themselves, they likely peed in the coal pile or off the gangway between the cab and tender when out on a run. No way to wash up, so coal soot and steam cylinder oil wound up "you know where". Interesting thing I've noticed comparing US engine crews with British engine crews: US locomotive crews wore work gloves. British crews seem to have rarely, if ever, been seen wearing work gloves. How the British crews handled hot valve handles and hot pokers and got their hands near the radiant heat boiling out the firehole while barehanded amazes me. They probably had skin on their hands like old harness leather or worse. The US crews, wearing work gloves, had relatively cleaner hands and less chance of getting their you-know-what coated with coal soot and steam cylinder oil.

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    All the guys handling Agent Orange got chloracne..........but with all the other horrible skin diseases and rashes thet were endemic in Vietnam,it hardly was noticed..........they had rubber suits ,but couldnt be worn in the heat and humidity ......anything waterproof filled with sweat in a few minutes.

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    A question related to your subject. A question I have been thinking about posting for a while.

    How often do people wash their hands? I once met a guy in a parts store who was a diesel engine mechanic. The back side of both of his hands were black. So this guy waits until after he drives home to wash his hands.

    I'm washing as often as I can remember. Tapping and drilling is when it gets the worst.

    I wonder if Bosley Institute knows about the increased hair growth aspect from post #1.

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    When I was about 5 yr old,the house was hit by termites,so the old man got a big drum of pentachlor phenol,mixed it with kerosine,and literally saturated the house .....there were stalactites of pentachlor phenol hangin down from the wood .........we couldnt live in the house for months for the fumes.......anyhoo,there has never been a termite ,borer or insect in that house in the 70 years since...An extension added later was destroyed by termites ,they didnt touch the treated part.....had a little nibble and stopped (or died)

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    Quote Originally Posted by rons View Post
    A question related to your subject. A question I have been thinking about posting for a while.

    How often do people wash their hands? I once met a guy in a parts store who was a diesel engine mechanic. The back side of both of his hands were black. So this guy waits until after he drives home to wash his hands.

    I'm washing as often as I can remember. Tapping and drilling is when it gets the worst.

    I wonder if Bosley Institute knows about the increased hair growth aspect from post #1.
    When I was an apprentice the shop labourer used to wash his hands under a stream of coolant from which ever lathe was running coolant at the time !

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post
    When I was an apprentice the shop labourer used to wash his hands under a stream of coolant from which ever lathe was running coolant at the time !

    Regards Tyrone.
    As an apprentice, I heard from another regarding an eastern European journeyman ripping a piss in the central coolant system routinely.
    Evidently, he was paid per part, and had no time to hit the bathroom. Nevermind washing hands.

    I'd have drown him in that tank if I'd have had to be exposed to that coolant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    When I was about 5 yr old,the house was hit by termites,so the old man got a big drum of pentachlor phenol,mixed it with kerosine,and literally saturated the house .....there were stalactites of pentachlor phenol hangin down from the wood .........we couldnt live in the house for months for the fumes.......anyhoo,there has never been a termite ,borer or insect in that house in the 70 years since...An extension added later was destroyed by termites ,they didnt touch the treated part.....had a little nibble and stopped (or died)
    Out of interest I looked that stuff up, it seems the process for making it only made 90% pure and the remaining 10% contained even more toxic substances including dioxin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JHOLLAND1 View Post
    the larger unanswered question is---how could managers and executives witness
    evolving, preventable ,disfiguring facial deformities for which they were exclusively responsible
    In american business nothing is more important than money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by macds View Post
    As an apprentice, I heard from another regarding an eastern European journeyman ripping a piss in the central coolant system routinely.
    Evidently, he was paid per part, and had no time to hit the bathroom. Nevermind washing hands.

    I'd have drown him in that tank if I'd have had to be exposed to that coolant.
    That happened all the time over here in shops that had a piece work system in place.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    In my lifetime, particularly when I was a boy, there were all manner of toxic substances in everyday use. Mom had a bottle of "Carbona"- carbon tetrachloride or "carbon tet" on a shelf in the laundry for removing spots and stains from clothing. Small fire extinguishers many householders kept hanging by their heating boilers or furnaces were filled with carbon tet. The stuff has vanished from the consumer market, being found to be highly toxic.

    Dad bought creosote over the counter for treating wood fence posts, and as a kid, I brushed it onto the posts and got plenty of it on myself. Mom used a disenfectant called "C-N", which was a creosote product. Somewhere along the line, creosote was found to be highly toxic and is no longer available to consumers. Sites of plants which did pressure treating of timber, utility poles, railroad cross ties and similar, as well as the plants which produced the creosote are now "brownfield sites" for environmental cleanup/soil remediation.

    The mention of termite extermination/prevention brings to mind a common method of years back. Exposed wood or wood being put into contact with the ground was soaked or pressure treated in creosote. If an existing building had termites, a common method of stopping them was to drill holes in the soil around the foundation, down to footing depth, and insert temporary pipes. Creosote was then pumped into the soil. That stopped the termites, but left quite an environmental mess, to say nothing of the potential health issues for occupants of the building and even the local aquifers.

    I recall a pesticide that was available for a few years called "Chlordane" or something like it. Seems like it killed ants dead and stopped any further infestations. Dad got a bottle of it when we had a problem around our house. I think it may have been a concentrate we mixed with water. He handed it to me and told me to trickle it along the foundation of our house where it met the ground (or paved driveway). Being a kid, I poured plenty down any cracks in the concrete and in any anthills. End of problem for several years afterwards. When the ant problem resumed a few years later, Dad found that Chlordane had been taken off the market.

    As a kid and young man, I can attest to having washed my hands in gasoline or diesel fuel to wash off the oil and grunge from working on cars and other equipment. This washing was followed by a washing with something like "GoJo" or "Lava" hand cleaner. As a kid, we used to keep a yellow and black tin of a hand cleaner called "Greasolvent" by the laundry sink. It was a whitish-gray paste with abrasive in it that was one shade removed from coarse sand. I'd wash my hands in gasoline, then use the "Greasolvent", and then spend another few minutes washing with dish detergent to get rid of the Greasolvent. Mom wanted clean hands at the dinner table.

    At the powerplant, as an adult with some years experience in the workplace, and with the growing knowledge of the toxicity and long term health effects of certain substances, I was always amazed at what people did to themselves. We were constantly having safety meetings, getting information on all manner of hazards, and had MSDS's (Material Safety Data Sheets) on file for nearly, if not all, solvents and other substances we used around the plant. Despite this, and despite plenty of warnings on the spray cans, people tended to clean their hands and their clothing (while they were wearing the garments) by spraying on various solvents. A favorite way to clean hands and clothing was to spray on liberal amounts of "Contact Cleaner". The stuff smelled like a strong solvent, and if one took the time to read the label's "fine print", it had plenty of health warnings. I'd see people who had been made aware of the potential dangers of washing and having these solvents in "prolonged contact with the skin" or "breathing the vapors" from them continuing to wash and clean their clothing with them.

    A co-worker at the powerplant was an electrician. She was lively, physically fit, and was a few years behind me in age and coming into retirement. In her last year of work at the powerplant, she was diagnosed with cancer of the liver and pancreas. One of my buddies drove her from the plant to help her ferry her vehicle since she would no longer be needing it. A few weeks later, she was dead at age 62 or 63. Never made it into retirement. I have always wondered in all that exposure to contact cleaner and other solvents did not cause her to develop the cancer. When the electricians would be doing routine maintenance on the generators and switchgear, they would use cases of spray contact cleaning solvent and be inside the switchgear cabinets or generator enclosures. Blowers with "elephant trunk" flex duct would be in use, and the electricians usually wore nitrile gloves- at least in the later years. The death of that electrician comes to mind fairly often as she was probably the last person I'd have figured to die so young.

    On the other hand, we had a few people who came from the area up around Niagara Falls. One woman had grown up not far from the infamous Love Canal. Soil and even the rock strata were contaminated with toxic chemicals that had leached into them. This woman fought a hellish battle with cancer for about 5 years before dying in her mid 60's. Another man had come from Lewiston, NY, in that same area. He also died in his 60's of cancer of the liver. Both these people lived maybe a year or two into their retirements and were dead without having any real retirement due to their health issues. The woman who had been raised near Love Canal had told me that there was a very high incidence of cancers amongst the people who grew up in her neighborhood. She was also a lively and physically active person, and the remembrance I have of her is her riding wildly on a 4-wheeler with a large shepherd dog perched behind her as she rode around their farm. Her husband- a member of my old crew- called to tell me his wife had died. I asked about her funeral arrangements and he told me she had been emphatic: no funeral. She felt she had put everyone through enough with her long term illness and had been through so much she just wanted it done with. Her wish was to be cremated and have her ashes scattered at the farm she and her husband lived on. I suppose this lady could be considered "collateral damage" or "peripheral damage" since she did not work in any of the industries around Love Canal, just grew up there. As an adult, she worked for the NY Power Authority as a purchasing agent, so was about as far removed from direct contact with solvents or any other toxins as it gets.

    If anyone was a victim of the greed of corporate America, it is this lady. Just having the misfortune to be raised in the neighborhood of chemical plants and other industries was enough to catch up with her and kill her.

    Taking Sip6A's post: Corporate greed is as old and common as dirt. Probably the worst example of a toxic chemical release and the machinations of big business has to be the Bhopal disaster. This was at a chemical plant which produced substances used in pesticides, if I recall correctly. Union Carbide's CEO from the USA was actually in India following the release of the toxic chemicals and was sought by the Indian authorities. Knowing he was being sought for prosecution, Union Carbide's CEO weaseled out of India and back to the USA and neither him nor any of the other brass were ever taken to task for the disaster at Bhopal. Status quo for this sort of thing, unfortunately.

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    When I was a young guy the shop I worked in had two trike degreasing tanks. A favourite method of cleaning your hands was to carefully place your open hands palm down onto the top of the cloud of trike vapour in the tank ! It worked a treat.

    Percy, the guy who ran the tanks was permanently away with the fairies.

    Then they brought out " Genklene " which was supposed to be safer - until they banned that as well !


    Regards Tyrone.

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