Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2011 14:55:27 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: "Secretary, ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety"

Subject: Re: Chemical Safety headlines from Google

From: Alan Hall <ahalltoxic**At_Symbol_Here**>
Date: April 25, 2011 2:03:33 PM EDT
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Chemical Safety headlines from Google

I will say that I remember working in a major Emergency Department in El Paso, Texas many years back when we had quite a large number of late-middle aged Hispanic women coming in complaining of chest tightness and chest pain.  After about the 4th ot 5th one, we got smart enough to ask them if they were working, and if so, where.


Turned out that it was the end of the chili growing season there and they were all employed as temps in chopping and roasting chilis for a mexican food plant in Anthony, Texas.  A site visit gave me the same symptoms.  After some discussions with management, ventilation was significantly improved and the "epidemic" of what looked clinically rather like angina chest pain disappeared.


Even driving by on I-25 near Hatch, NM which arguably grows some of the hottest chilis in America during the roasting season is sufficient to cause eye and upper airway irritation.


And yes, as an ol' boy who spend a lot of years practicing medicine on the US-Mexico border, I love to eat chilis!


I would also doubt that standard HAZMAT team detection gear would detect the various irritant organic compounds released from roasting chilis, but maybe someone who knows detection devices better than I do could comment.


Maybe the neighbor should just have made a big pot of chili con queso and invited everyone over for a picnic?


Alan H. Hall, M.D.


Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2011 10:14:03 -0400
From: r.calhoun**At_Symbol_Here**MOREHEADSTATE.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Chemical Safety headlines from Google
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU

Re: fumes caused by heating chilies.  
 =93Th e Hazmat unit was unable to detect the cause of the fumes because it was organic=85..=94


   I=92m a bit at a loss.  I would crack a joke about the chilies being raised without the use of pesticides, but the statement shows such a lack of understanding that it=92s almost scary.  I hope it was the reporter that was clueless and not the people entrusted to make knowledgeable decisions about potentially hazardous situations.


Kay Calhoun

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