Seven different wood product industries of the Southeast USA (AL, KY, MS, and WV) participated in this study, including veneer, plywood, engineered hardwood floor, door skin, shutter, hardwood floor, and kitchen cabinet makers (). There were a total of 888 individual samples as 444 pairs. Most of the samples were collected where significant wood dust level was anticipated, for example, where the processes involved cutting, drilling, sanding, or sawing.
Wood products of participating companies and collected sample number
Samplers used for this study
Five different samplers were utilized for this study, including the CFC with ACCU-CAP™, Button, CIP10-I, GSP, and IOM samplers ().
Tested aerosol samplers. (a) ACCU-CAP™, (b) Button, (c) CIP10-I, (d) GSP, (e) IOM sampler, and (f) a picture of wood dust sampling (the worker was wearing ACCU-CAP™ and CIP10-I samplers).
ACCU-CAP™ (SKC Inc., Omega Division, Eighty Four, PA, USA) is a 37-mm polyvinyl chloride (PVC) filter with 5-μm pore size sealed to the base of a clear PVC dome with a hole at the vertex. The ACCU-CAP™ is a one-piece filter capsule similar to that used (Moore et al., 1990
) in the OSHA method PV2121 (OSHA, 2003
). When included in the CFC, the ACCU-CAP™ can prevent losses of sample that would otherwise be deposited on the interior wall of the cassette (Puskar et al., 1992
). The ACCU-CAP™ fits inside of the top and bottom pieces of a two-piece 37-mm CFC (SKC Inc.) with back up pad under the filter and with the hole at the vertex of the dome fitting to the entry hole of the top piece of the cassette. A 2 l min−1
flow rate was used. The CFC was located on the body of the wearer at the commencement of sampling with the opening facing at an ~45° angle to the vertical as previously published (Buchan et al., 1986
). However, this position was not fixed with a holder, and at the end of sampling, the CFC was often observed to be pointing face outward from the body in the orientation shown by Kauffer et al. (2010)
to be the most appropriate for inhalable sampling.
Button sampler (SKC Inc.) has a spherical shell inlet with numerous holes of nominally 381-μm diameter functioning as orifices. A 25-mm PVC filter was used in the Button for sampling at company A but it resulted in many pump failures because of excessive pressure drop across the filter at the recommended flow rate of 4 l min−1
for sampling in accordance with the inhalable convention, which was consistent with previous studies (e.g. Reynolds et al, 2009
). Thus, the remainder of the sampling surveys used a 25-mm glass fiber filter (SKC Inc.) instead. Validation of the gravimetric procedure has shown that glass fiber filters can be used in place of PVC filters with only slightly greater uncertainty in the result (McLister et al., 2001
). The uniform distribution of the holes on the curved inlet results in an even distribution of particles on the filter surface (Kalatoor et al., 1995
). Aizenberg et al. (2000)
investigated the performance of the sampler for particles in the inhalable size range and showed the collection efficiency to lie between that of the CFC and IOM samplers. The Button sampler inlet screen should minimize the collection of particles >100 μm (i.e. those not covered by the ACGIH inhalable convention) in the same manner as the screen proposed for the IOM sampler by Aitken and Donaldson (1996)
. In laboratory and field studies (Aizenberg et al., 2000
), the sampler was shown to be relatively insensitive to wind speed and direction. The performance of the sampler in a second laboratory study was not as good a match to the inhalable convention, but the sampler was shown to have minimal internal wall losses of sample (Li et al., 2000
CIP10-I (Arelco ARC, Fontenay-sous-Bois, France) is a French sampler (Görner et al., 1999
) that also performed well when compared to the inhalable convention (Kenny et al., 1997
; Bartley, 1998
). It operates at a flow rate of 10 l min−1
by the unusual method of spinning a foam disk. Wood dusts are captured in the polyurethane foam and holder, which are weighed. There are practical issues for this sampler. First, there is an issue concerning the weight stability for foam so that at least equilibration overnight at constant temperature and humidity is recommended by the manufacturer before weighing. Another issue is the large overall mass of the cup and foam combination. Finally, the CIP10-I has to be calibrated in the laboratory using assisted pressure drop compensation and the calibration can only be checked in the field by measuring the revolutions per minute (RPM) of the rotating cup. This situation has the potential for errors.
GSP sampler (Gesamtstaub-Probenahmesystem; GSMGesellschaft für Schadstoffmesstechnik, GmbH, Neuss-Norf, Germany) is a German sampler. Results from the collaborative study previously mentioned (Kenny et al., 1997
) suggested that the GSP sampler may operate sufficiently in accordance with the inhalable convention for it to be regarded as a possible inhalable sampling device (Bartley, 1998
). These results were confirmed at the University of Cincinnati (Aizenberg et al., 2000
). A conductive plastic version of this sampler was evaluated for wood dust (Davies et al., 1999
). However, the conductive plastic cassette is also subject to weighing errors (Li et al., 2000
). The samplers used in this study were the original cast aluminum samplers. The flow rate was 3.5 l min−1
and PVC filters were used to collect the wood dusts.
IOM sampler (SKC Inc.) was designed to collect the inhalable fraction of an aerosol (Mark and Vincent, 1986
). The IOM showed good orientation averaged performance agreement with the ACGIH inhalable convention curve (within 10%) at averaged wind velocities of 0.5 and 1 m s−1
). However, several studies reported that the IOM is susceptible to significant bias in situations where there is a constant directional component to the airflow (Roger et al., 1998
; Aizenberg et al., 2000
; Li et al., 2000
). Both particles collected on the filter as well as the particles collected on the inner inlet surfaces are analyzed since the entire stainless steel cassette is weighed. The IOM is characterized by a large 15-mm entry orifice and is operated facing orthogonally outward from the body at a flow rate of 2 l min−1
loaded with a 25-mm PVC filter. The IOM sampler has been criticized as a sampler for certain dusts because of the large entry inlet, which increases the potential for aspiration of particles >100 μm aerodynamic equivalent diameter (Lidén and Kenny, 1994
; Aitken and Donaldson, 1996
; Aizenberg et al., 2000
; Lidén et al., 2000
). Wood dust particles of this size are present in the breathing zone (Vaughan et al., 1990
; Martin and Zalk, 1998
; Harper et al., 2004
) but they are not covered by the inhalable convention because the aspiration efficiency of the human mouth and nose for such large particles has been shown to be low (Breysse and Swift, 1990
; Aitken and Donaldson, 1996
; Hsu and Swift, 1999
; Kennedy and Hinds, 2002
; Dai et al., 2006
Combination of samplers
Workers were asked to wear commercial back braces and the samplers were located on the shoulder straps of these back braces, one on each side, with sides randomized for different pairs. Fifteen possible combination of the samplers were generated: ACCU-CAP™/ACCU-CAP™, ACCU-CAP™/Button, ACCU-CAP™/CIP10-I, ACCU-CAP™/GSP, ACCU-CAP™/IOM, Button/Button, Button/CIP10-I, Button/GSP, Button/IOM, CIP10-I/CIP10-I, CIP10-I/GSP, CIP10-I/IOM, GSP/GSP, GSP/IOM, and IOM/IOM. Combinations were selected at random for each sampling event so that no deliberate bias was introduced by having a large percentage of any one combination being associated with any particular site or task. The sample size was determined by the method used in our previous study (Harper and Muller, 2002
). Paired samplers of the identical type were used to calculate environmental variance (true field coefficient of variation) that was then used to determine the number of pairs of samples necessary to detect any difference at a specified level of confidence.
Wood dust sampling
CFC with ACCU-CAP™ samplers were prepared by using a cassette closer (Omega Specialty Instruments; now SKC Inc., Omega Division) connected to a cylinder of nitrogen to apply an even force to close each cassette. Assembled cassettes were wrapped with Omega Gel Bands (Omega Specialty Instruments) to prevent air leaks and leak checked using a field cassette leak tester (Omega Specialty Instruments). The CFC samplers were opened using an EZ Cassette Opener (SKC Inc.). The IOM samplers with stainless steel cassettes, GSP, and Button samplers were prepared in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. The pumps were attached to a back belt (Safe-T-Lift, Style No. 70-110543; FLA Orthopedics, Inc.) around the waist of the participants (note that the belts are used in this case only for support of the sampling equipment and an endorsement of such belts for any other purposes is not intended) (). Aircheck PCXR-4 pumps (SKC Inc.) were connected to the filter holders (other than the CIP10-I) by flexible tubing. The flow rates through the sampling trains were calibrated using a BIOS Dry Cal Meter (Product DCL-MH; BIOS International Corporation, Butler, NJ, USA), using sampler calibration adapters (e.g. IOM Calibration Adapter; SKC Inc.) where necessary. The flow rates were calibrated before and after each day of sampling on-site and to ensure the flow rate did not change significantly. The flow rate of the CIP10-I was calibrated in the NIOSH laboratory with a CIP10 Calibration bench (Arelco, ARC) and an on-site check by measurement of the rotational speed (RPM) of the cup was conducted before and after field sampling. Sampling times were adjusted according to the judgment of the on-site hygienist to obtain optimal particle deposition on the filters and the sampling time was between 1 and 4 h in most of the samples. Most of the wood workshops used kiln-dried wood with very low moisture contents, leading to dust with a very high electrostatic charge, requiring careful handling of the samplers and samples to avoid sample losses. All samples were capped and stored in ziplock bags during transportation from the sampling sites. Samples were taken by hand to the laboratory rather than shipped.
All filters and foams from the first three sites (A, B, and C) were equilibrated for a minimum 72 h to specific humidity conditions before and after sampling in a cabinet containing a saturated solution of sodium dichromate. Later, a purpose-built weighing room was used for gravimetric analysis for the following four sites (D, E, F, and G). The weighing room maintains constant relative humidity (50% ± 2) and temperature (26°C ± 2). All samples were weighed before and after sampling using a micro Balance (UMT2; Mettler-Toledo, Columbus, OH, USA) and weights were recorded on data sheets. For IOM filter and stainless steel cassette and CIP10-I polyurethane form and rotating cup, measurements were made with a dual range analytical balance (AG245; Mettler-Toledo). A calibration check on the balances was performed and recorded each day of weighing and the balances were zeroed between each weighing. Filters were passed through an electrostatic bar (Mettler-Toledo) before they were weighed to dissipate static charge. Measurements were made after allowing exactly 120 s for balance stabilization. Field blanks were taken but samples were not corrected for field blanks, according to normal practice. Average mass difference from 156 field blank samples was −0.03 mg.
Analyses were performed on matched pairs after calculation of air concentrations using SAS 9.2 (SAS Institute, Cary, NC, USA). All variables were tested to ensure that they met statistical assumptions for all analyses. Log-transformed data were used where appropriate. In this sample, there were 995 nonmissing data points. Data were excluded if the mass loading and, therefore, the concentration was less than zero. Data were paired, and if either of the paired sampler concentrations were missing, both pairs were excluded. In the final data set, there were 444 pairs, giving 888 data points, resulting in a loss of 11% of the data.
Associations were performed using correlation analyses to see how well-paired samples correlated with each other. Pearson’s correlation coefficients and their corresponding P-values were generated. Whether or not correlation coefficients were of statistical significance, the size of the coefficient itself may still be meaningful, with values approaching 1 or −1 indicating stronger associations ().
Correlation coefficient, average difference, and correction factors between pair of the samplers
Mixed linear models were used to look for statistically significant differences between the paired samples. Random effect models were used to control for and test variation between the different sampling sites. Nonsignificant P-values (P > 0.05) indicate that the samplers were not statistically different, with mean values close to zero indicating similar readings.
Correction factors have also been calculated. These values show what the paired group’s values would have to be multiplied by in order to make them match up as close as possible to each other, with the correction factor being applied to the sampler that comes last alphabetically (i.e. for samplers ACCU-CAP™ and Button, the correction factor would be applied to the Button sampler). Values close to one indicate that the samplers’ data were initially close together. Values for matched samplers (ACCU-CAP™/ACCU-CAP™, Button/Button, CIP10-I/CIP10-I, GSP/GSP, and IOM/IOM) are given to show the potential variability within sampler type, although they may not be meaningful in an applied sense.