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Korean Journal of Preventive Medicine 2002;35(1): 72-75.
Investigation of Health Hazards in the Underground Storage Facilities of Ginger Roots.
Hyun Sul Lim, Geun Ryang Bae
Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Dongguk University, Korea.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the health hazards in the underground storage facilities of ginger roots. METHODS: The authors reviewed the emergency rescue records from the Seosan fire department over the period Jan 1, 1996 to Aug 31, 1999. The atmospheres in 3 different underground storage locations were analyzed for O2, CO2, CO, H2S and NH4. RESULTS: From the emergency records, we were able to identify 20 individuals that had been exposed to occupational hazards in the underground storage facilities. Among these 20 cases, 13 were due to asphyxiation (resulting in 7 deaths) and 7 were due to falls. In the first atmospheric tests, performed on Feb 25, 1998, the O2 level inside the underground storage facility, located about 5~6 meters below the surface, was 20.6% and the CO2 level was about 1,000 ppm. CO, H2S and NH4 were not detected. In the second tests on Jul 6, 1999, measurements of the O2 level at 3 meters below the surface in two different storage locations were 15.3 and 15.1%. And the O2 levels inside the storage facilities were 12.2 and 12.1%. The CO2 level was above 5,000 ppm (beyond upper limits of measurement). CO, H2S and NH4 were not detected. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that asphyxiation in the underground storage facilities for ginger roots was not due to the presence of toxic gases such as CO, H2S and NH4, but rather the exclusion of oxygen by carbon dioxide was responsible for causing casualties. For the development of a hazard free working environment, safety education as well as improvements in storage methods are needed.
Key words: Rural health; Ginger; Asphyxia; Accidental falls
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