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1991). The authors develop a semiquantitative exposure assessment by assigning exposure levels (none, low, medium, and high) to each job category. 1 were less than those found for non-exposed workers. For a number of other cancers, including those of the esophagus, rectum, bladder, kidney, and Hodgkin’s disease, the SMRs found for phenol-exposed workers were greater than those for the non-exposed workers, but none were considered indicative of “important excesses” of these diseases by the authors.

Public health officials and others concerned with appropriate actions to take at hazardous waste sites may want information on levels of exposure associated with more subtle effects in humans or animals (LOAEL) or exposure levels below which no adverse effects (NOAELs) have been observed. Estimates of levels posing minimal risk to humans (Minimal Risk Levels or MRLs) may be of interest to health professionals and citizens alike. Levels of exposure associated with carcinogenic effects (Cancer Effect Levels, CELs) of phenol are indicated in Table 2-3.

Dermal Effects. Historical information in a case report Merliss (1972) indicates that ‘carbol marasmus’ was a common occupational disorder of physicians and their assistants during the mid-19th Century. Among the characteristics of this disorder was an odd form of pigmentation which commonly occurred in the urine but also occasionally colored the sclera of the eyes, the skin over the nose, and the cheek bones. NIOSH (1984) conducted a survey in an Oregon hospital in response to concerns about respiratory problems and contact dermatitis in housekeeping staff members who were exposed frequently to germicidal solutions containing phenol and other solvents (formaldehyde, cellosolve, ethanolamine).

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