Saf Health Work.  2012 Jun;3(2):130-139.

Work Environments and Exposure to Hazardous Substances in Korean Tire Manufacturing

  • 1Occupational Safety and Health Research Institute, Incheon, Korea.
  • 2Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency, Incheon, Korea.


The purpose of this study is to evaluate the tire manufacturing work environments extensively and to identify workers' exposure to hazardous substances in various work processes.
Personal air sampling was conducted to measure polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carbon disulfide, 1,3-butadiene, styrene, methyl isobutyl ketone, methylcyclohexane, formaldehyde, sulfur dioxide, and rubber fume in tire manufacturing plants using the National Institute for Occupational Safety Health Manual of Analytical Methods. Noise, carbon monoxide, and heat stress exposure were evaluated using direct reading instruments. Past concentrations of rubber fume were assessed using regression analysis of total particulate data from 2003 to 2007, after identifying the correlation between the concentration of total particulate and rubber fume.
Workers were exposed to rubber fume that exceeded 0.6 mg/m3, the maximum exposure limit of the UK, in curing and production management processes. Forty-seven percent of workers were exposed to noise levels exceeding 85 dBA. Workers in the production management process were exposed to 28.1degrees C (wet bulb globe temperature value, WBGT value) even when the outdoor atmosphere was 2.7degrees C (WBGT value). Exposures to other substances were below the limit of detection or under a tenth of the threshold limit values given by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.
To better classify exposure groups and to improve work environments, examining closely at rubber fume components and temperature as risk indicators in tire manufacturing is recommended.


Rubber; Occupational exposure; Aerosols; Carbon disulfide
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