The American Conference of Governmental Industrial hygienists (ACGIH) lowered the threshold limit value (TLV) for respirable crystalline silica (RCS) exposure from 0.05 to 0.025 mg m−3 in 2006. For a working environment with an airborne dust concentration near this lowered TLV, the sample collected with current standard respirable aerosol samplers might not provide enough RCS for quantitative analysis. Adopting high flow rate sampling devices for respirable dust containing silica may provide a sufficient amount of RCS to be above the limit of quantification even for samples collected for less than full shift. The performances of three high flow rate respirable samplers (CIP10-R, GK2.69, and FSP10) have been evaluated in this study. Eleven different sizes of monodisperse aerosols of ammonium fluorescein were generated with a vibrating orifice aerosol generator in a calm air chamber in order to determine the sampling efficiency of each sampler. Aluminum oxide particles generated by a fluidized bed aerosol generator were used to test (i) the uniformity of a modified calm air chamber, (ii) the effect of loading on the sampling efficiency, and (iii) the performance of dust collection compared to lower flow rate cyclones in common use in the USA (10-mm nylon and Higgins–Dewell cyclones). The coefficient of variation for eight simultaneous samples in the modified calm air chamber ranged from 1.9 to 6.1% for triplicate measures of three different aerosols. The 50% cutoff size (50dae) of the high flow rate samplers operated at the flow rates recommended by manufacturers were determined as 4.7, 4.1, and 4.8 μm for CIP10-R, GK2.69, and FSP10, respectively. The mass concentration ratio of the high flow rate samplers to the low flow rate cyclones decreased with decreasing mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD) and high flow rate samplers collected more dust than low flow rate samplers by a range of 2–11 times based on gravimetric analysis. Dust loading inside the high flow rate samplers does not appear to affect the particle separation in either FSP10 or GK2.69. The high flow rate samplers overestimated compared to the International Standards Organization/Comité Européen de Normalisation/ACGIH respirable convention [up to 40% at large MMAD (27.5 μm)] and could provide overestimated exposure data with the current flow rates. However, both cyclones appeared to be able to provide relatively unbiased assessments of RCS when their flow rates were adjusted.
Keywords: calm air chamber, CIP10-R, FSP10, GK2.69, high flow rate sampler, respirable fraction, sampling efficiency