The association between workplace bullying and psychotropic drug use is not well established. This study was aimed at exploring the association between workplace bullying, and its characteristics, and psychotropic drug use, and studying the mediating role of physical and mental health.
The study population consisted of a random sample of 3132 men and 4562 women of the working population in the South-East of France. Workplace bullying, evaluated using the validated instrument elaborated by Leymann, and psychotropic drug use, as well as covariates, were measured using a self-administered questionnaire. Covariates included age, marital status, presence of children, education, occupation, working hours, night work, physico-chemical exposures at work, self-reported health, and depressive symptoms. Statistical analysis was performed using logistic regression analysis, and was carried out separately for men and women.
Workplace bullying was strongly associated with psychotropic drug use. Past exposure to bullying increased the risk for this use. The more frequent and the longer the exposure to bullying, the stronger the association with psychotropic drug use. Observing bullying on someone else at the workplace was associated with psychotropic drug use. Adjustment for covariates did not modify the results. Additional adjustment for self-reported health and depressive symptoms reduced the magnitude of the associations, especially for men.
The association between bullying and psychotropic drug use was found to be significant and strong, and was partially mediated by physical and mental health.
psychotropic drug use; workplace bullying; mental health; self-reported health
Background: Welders are frequently exposed to Manganese (Mn), which may increase the risk of neurological impairment. Historical exposure estimates for welding-exposed workers are needed for epidemiological studies evaluating the relationship between welding and neurological or other health outcomes. The objective of this study was to develop and validate a multivariate model to estimate quantitative levels of welding fume exposures based on welding particulate mass and Mn concentrations reported in the published literature.
Methods: Articles that described welding particulate and Mn exposures during field welding activities were identified through a comprehensive literature search. Summary measures of exposure and related determinants such as year of sampling, welding process performed, type of ventilation used, degree of enclosure, base metal, and location of sampling filter were extracted from each article. The natural log of the reported arithmetic mean exposure level was used as the dependent variable in model building, while the independent variables included the exposure determinants. Cross-validation was performed to aid in model selection and to evaluate the generalizability of the models.
Results: A total of 33 particulate and 27 Mn means were included in the regression analysis. The final model explained 76% of the variability in the mean exposures and included welding process and degree of enclosure as predictors. There was very little change in the explained variability and root mean squared error between the final model and its cross-validation model indicating the final model is robust given the available data.
Conclusions: This model may be improved with more detailed exposure determinants; however, the relatively large amount of variance explained by the final model along with the positive generalizability results of the cross-validation increases the confidence that the estimates derived from this model can be used for estimating welder exposures in absence of individual measurement data.
exposure; manganese; welding
This report provides an overview of the exposure assessment process for an epidemiologic study that investigated mortality, with a special focus on lung cancer, associated with diesel exhaust (DE) exposure among miners. Details of several components are provided in four other reports. A major challenge for this study was the development of quantitative estimates of historical exposures to DE. There is no single standard method for assessing the totality of DE, so respirable elemental carbon (REC), a component of DE, was selected as the primary surrogate in this study. Air monitoring surveys at seven of the eight study mining facilities were conducted between 1998 and 2001 and provided reference personal REC exposure levels and measurements for other agents and DE components in the mining environment. (The eighth facility had closed permanently prior to the surveys.) Exposure estimates were developed for mining facility/department/job/year combinations. A hierarchical grouping strategy was developed for assigning exposure levels to underground jobs [based on job titles, on the amount of time spent in various areas of the underground mine, and on similar carbon monoxide (CO, another DE component) concentrations] and to surface jobs (based on the use of, or proximity to, diesel-powered equipment). Time trends in air concentrations for underground jobs were estimated from mining facility-specific prediction models using diesel equipment horsepower, total air flow rates exhausted from the underground mines, and, because there were no historical REC measurements, historical measurements of CO. Exposures to potentially confounding agents, i.e. respirable dust, silica, radon, asbestos, and non-diesel sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, also were assessed. Accuracy and reliability of the estimated REC exposures levels were evaluated by comparison with several smaller datasets and by development of alternative time trend models. During 1998–2001, the average measured REC exposure level by facility ranged from 40 to 384 μg m−3 for the underground workers and from 2 to 6 μg m−3 for the surface workers. For one prevalent underground job, ‘miner operator’, the maximum annual REC exposure estimate by facility ranged up to 685% greater than the corresponding 1998–2001 value. A comparison of the historical CO estimates from the time trend models with 1976–1977 CO measurements not used in the modeling found an overall median relative difference of 29%. Other comparisons showed similar levels of agreement. The assessment process indicated large differences in REC exposure levels over time and across the underground operations. Method evaluations indicated that the final estimates were consistent with those from alternative time trend models and demonstrated moderate to high agreement with external data.
diesel exhaust; elemental carbon; exposure assessment; miners
Diesel exhaust (DE) has been implicated as a potential lung carcinogen. However, the exact components of DE that might be involved have not been clearly identified. In the past, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon oxides (COx) were measured most frequently to estimate DE, but since the 1990s, the most commonly accepted surrogate for DE has been elemental carbon (EC). We developed quantitative estimates of historical exposure levels of respirable elemental carbon (REC) for an epidemiologic study of mortality, particularly lung cancer, among diesel-exposed miners by back-extrapolating 1998–2001 REC exposure levels using historical measurements of carbon monoxide (CO). The choice of CO was based on the availability of historical measurement data. Here, we evaluated the relationship of REC with CO and other current and historical components of DE from side-by-side area measurements taken in underground operations of seven non-metal mining facilities. The Pearson correlation coefficient of the natural log-transformed (Ln)REC measurements with the Ln(CO) measurements was 0.4. The correlation of REC with the other gaseous, organic carbon (OC), and particulate measurements ranged from 0.3 to 0.8. Factor analyses indicated that the gaseous components, including CO, together with REC, loaded most strongly on a presumed ‘Diesel exhaust’ factor, while the OC and particulate agents loaded predominantly on other factors. In addition, the relationship between Ln(REC) and Ln(CO) was approximately linear over a wide range of REC concentrations. The fact that CO correlated with REC, loaded on the same factor, and increased linearly in log–log space supported the use of CO in estimating historical exposure levels to DE.
carbon dioxide; carbon monoxide; diesel exhaust; elemental carbon; miners; nitric oxide; nitrogen dioxide; particulates
Background: Assessment of occupational pesticide exposures based on self-reported information can be challenging, particularly with immigrant farm worker populations for whom specialized methods are needed to address language and cultural barriers and account for limited literacy. An audio computer-assisted self-interview (A-CASI) survey instrument was developed to collect information about organophosphate (OP) and N-methyl-carbamate (CB) exposures and other personal characteristics among male agricultural pesticide handlers for an ongoing cholinesterase biomonitoring study in Washington State.
Objectives: To assess the feasibility of collecting data using the A-CASI instrument and evaluate reliability for a subset of survey items.
Methods: The survey consisted of 64 items administered in Spanish or English on a touch-screen tablet computer. Participants listened to digitally recorded questions on headphones and selected responses on the screen, most of which were displayed as images or icons to facilitate participation of low literacy respondents. From 2006–2008, a total of 195 participants completed the survey during the OP/CB application seasons on at least one occasion. Percent agreement and kappa coefficients were calculated to evaluate test–retest reliability for selected characteristics among 45 participants who completed the survey on two separate occasions within the same year.
Results: Almost all participants self-identified as Hispanic or Latino (98%), and 97% completed the survey in Spanish. Most participants completed the survey in a half-hour or less, with minimal assistance from on-site research staff. Analyses of test–retest reliability showed substantial agreement for most demographic, work history, and health characteristics and at least moderate agreement for most variables related to personal protective equipment use during pesticide applications.
Conclusions: This A-CASI survey instrument is a novel method that has been used successfully to collect information about OP/CB exposures and other personal characteristics among Spanish-speaking agricultural pesticide handlers.
agriculture; audio computer-assisted self-interview (A-CASI); exposure assessment; pesticides; survey instrument
Urinary 1,6-hexamethylene diamine (HDA) may serve as a biomarker for systemic exposure to 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI) in occupationally exposed populations. However, the quantitative relationships between dermal and inhalation exposure to HDI and urine HDA levels have not been established. We measured acid-hydrolyzed urine HDA levels along with dermal and breathing-zone levels of HDI in 48 automotive spray painters. These measurements were conducted over the course of an entire workday for up to three separate workdays that were spaced approximately 1 month apart. One urine sample was collected before the start of work with HDI-containing paints and subsequent samples were collected during the workday. HDA levels varied throughout the day and ranged from nondetectable to 65.9 μg l−1 with a geometric mean and geometric standard deviation of 0.10 μg l−1 ± 6.68. Dermal exposure and inhalation exposure levels, adjusted for the type of respirator worn, were both significant predictors of urine HDA levels in the linear mixed models. Creatinine was a significant covariate when used as an independent variable along with dermal and respirator-adjusted inhalation exposure. Consequently, exposure assessment models must account for the water content of a urine sample. These findings indicate that HDA exhibits a biphasic elimination pattern, with a half-life of 2.9 h for the fast elimination phase. Our results also indicate that urine HDA level is significantly associated with systemic HDI exposure through both the skin and the lungs. We conclude that urinary HDA may be used as a biomarker of exposure to HDI, but biological monitoring should be tailored to reliably capture the intermittent exposure pattern typical in this industry.
biomarkers; creatinine; dermal exposure; 1,6-hexamethylene diamine; 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate; inhalation exposure; urine analysis
A low cost, battery-operated, portable, real-time aerosol analyzer is not available for monitoring diesel particulate matter (DPM) concentrations in underground mines. This study summarizes a field evaluation conducted at an underground limestone mine to evaluate the potential of the TSI AM 510 portable photometer (equipped with a Dorr-Oliver cyclone and 1.0-μm impactor) to qualitatively track time-weighted average mass and elemental, organic, and total carbon (TC) measurements associated with diesel emissions. The calibration factor corrected correlation coefficient (R2) between the underground TC and photometer measurements was 0.93. The main issues holding back the use of a photometer for real-time estimation of DPM in an underground mine are the removal of non-DPM-associated particulate matter from the aerosol stream using devices, such as a cyclone and/or impactor and calibration of the photometer to mine-specific aerosol.
diesel exhaust; diesel particulate matter; direct-reading instruments; photometer; real-time measurement
Friction stir welding (FSW) is considered one of the most significant developments in joining technology over the last half century. Its industrial applications are growing steadily and so are the number of workers using this technology. To date, there are no reports on airborne exposures during FSW. The objective of this study was to investigate possible emissions of nanoscale (<100 nm) and fine (<1 μm) aerosols during FSW of two aluminum alloys in a laboratory setting and characterize their physicochemical composition. Several instruments measured size distributions (5 nm to 20 μm) with 1-s resolution, lung deposited surface areas, and PM2.5 concentrations at the source and at the breathing zone (BZ). A wide range aerosol sampling system positioned at the BZ collected integrated samples in 12 stages (2 nm to 20 μm) that were analyzed for several metals using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Airborne aerosol was directly collected onto several transmission electron microscope grids and the morphology and chemical composition of collected particles were characterized extensively. FSW generates high concentrations of ultrafine and submicrometer particles. The size distribution was bimodal, with maxima at ∼30 and ∼550 nm. The mean total particle number concentration at the 30 nm peak was relatively stable at ∼4.0 × 105 particles cm−3, whereas the arithmetic mean counts at the 550 nm peak varied between 1500 and 7200 particles cm−3, depending on the test conditions. The BZ concentrations were lower than the source concentrations by 10–100 times at their respective peak maxima and showed higher variability. The daylong average metal-specific concentrations were 2.0 (Zn), 1.4 (Al), and 0.24 (Fe) μg m−3; the estimated average peak concentrations were an order of magnitude higher. Potential for significant exposures to fine and ultrafine aerosols, particularly of Al, Fe, and Zn, during FSW may exist, especially in larger scale industrial operations.
aluminum; friction stir welding; nanoparticle exposures; occupational safety and health; size distribution; zinc
Exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from bridge painting was measured in New York City and New Jersey during the summer and fall seasons from 2005 to 2007. The effect of painting activities (paint coating layer, confinement setup, and application method) and meteorological conditions (temperature, humidity, and wind speed) on solvent exposure to aromatic, ketone, ester, and alkane compounds were individually evaluated. Mixed-effect models were used to examine the combination effects of these factors on the air concentration of total VOCs as the individual compound groups were not present in all samples. Air concentration associated with spraying was not affected by meteorological conditions since spraying was done in a confined space, thus reducing their impact on solvent air concentration. The mixed models for brushing and rolling samples included two fixed factors, i.e. application method and temperature, and one random factor, i.e. sampling day. An independent dataset (daily air samples) was used to validate the mixed model constructed for brushing and rolling samples. The regression line of the predicted values and actual measurements had a slope of 1.32 ± 0.15 for daily brushing and rolling samples, with almost all points being within the 95% confidence bands. The constructed model provides practical approaches for estimating the solvent exposure from brushing and rolling activities among construction painters. An adjusted mean air concentration derived from the activity-specific spray samples was the best estimate for that painting application.
construction; occupational exposure; oil-based paints; painting; solvents
Objectives: Occupational exposure assessment for population-based case–control studies is challenging due to the wide variety of industries and occupations encountered by study participants. We developed and evaluated statistical models to estimate the intensity of exposure to three chlorinated solvents—methylene chloride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and trichloroethylene—using a database of air measurement data and associated exposure determinants.
Methods: A measurement database was developed after an extensive review of the published industrial hygiene literature. The database of nearly 3000 measurements or summary measurements included sample size, measurement characteristics (year, duration, and type), and several potential exposure determinants associated with the measurements: mechanism of release (e.g. evaporation), process condition, temperature, usage rate, type of ventilation, location, presence of a confined space, and proximity to the source. The natural log-transformed measurement levels in the exposure database were modeled as a function of the measurement characteristics and exposure determinants using maximum likelihood methods. Assuming a single lognormal distribution of the measurements, an arithmetic mean exposure intensity level was estimated for each unique combination of exposure determinants and decade.
Results: The proportions of variability in the measurement data explained by the modeled measurement characteristics and exposure determinants were 36, 38, and 54% for methylene chloride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and trichloroethylene, respectively. Model parameter estimates for the exposure determinants were in the anticipated direction. Exposure intensity estimates were plausible and exhibited internal consistency, but the ability to evaluate validity was limited.
Conclusions: These prediction models can be used to estimate chlorinated solvent exposure intensity for jobs reported by population-based case–control study participants that have sufficiently detailed information regarding the exposure determinants.
case–control study; exposure assessment; exposure determinants; occupational exposure
The toxicity of soluble metal compounds is often different from that of the parent metal. Since no reliable data on acute toxicity, local effects, and mutagenicity of beryllium metal have ever been generated, beryllium metal powder was tested according to the respective Organisation for Economical Co-Operation and Development (OECD) guidelines. Acute oral toxicity of beryllium metal was investigated in rats and local effects on skin and eye in rabbits. Skin-sensitizing properties were investigated in guinea pigs (maximization method). Basic knowledge about systemic bioavailability is important for the design of genotoxicity tests on poorly soluble substances. Therefore, it was necessary to experimentally compare the capacities of beryllium chloride and beryllium metal to form ions under simulated human lung conditions. Solubility of beryllium metal in artificial lung fluid was low, while solubility in artificial lysosomal fluid was moderate. Beryllium chloride dissolution kinetics were largely different, and thus, metal extracts were used in the in vitro genotoxicity tests. Genotoxicity was investigated in vitro in a bacterial reverse mutagenicity assay, a mammalian cell gene mutation assay, a mammalian cell chromosome aberration assay, and an unscheduled DNA synthesis (UDS) assay. In addition, cell transformation was tested in a Syrian hamster embryo cell assay, and potential inhibition of DNA repair was tested by modification of the UDS assay. Beryllium metal was found not to be mutagenic or clastogenic based on the experimental in vitro results. Furthermore, treatment with beryllium metal extracts did not induce DNA repair synthesis, indicative of no DNA-damaging potential of beryllium metal. A cell-transforming potential and a tendency to inhibit DNA repair when the cell is severely damaged by an external stimulus were observed. Beryllium metal was also found not to be a skin or eye irritant, not to be a skin sensitizer, and not to have relevant acute oral toxic properties.
acute toxicity; beryllium; genotoxicity; mutagenicity; sensitization; solubility
Beryllium metal was classified in Europe collectively with beryllium compounds, e.g. soluble salts. Toxicological equivalence was assumed despite greatly differing physicochemical properties. Following introduction of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation, beryllium metal was classified as individual substance and more investigational efforts to appropriately characterize beryllium metal as a specific substance apart from soluble beryllium compounds was required. A literature search on toxicity of beryllium metal was conducted, and the resulting literature compiled together with the results of a recently performed study package into a comprehensive data set. Testing performed under Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development guidelines and Good Laboratory Practice concluded that beryllium metal was neither a skin irritant, an eye irritant, a skin sensitizer nor evoked any clinical signs of acute oral toxicity; discrepancies between the current legal classification of beryllium metal in the European Union (EU) and the experimental results were identified. Furthermore, genotoxicity and carcinogenicity were discussed in the context of the literature data and the new experimental data. It was concluded that beryllium metal is unlikely to be a classical nonthreshold mutagen. Effects on DNA repair and morphological cell transformation were observed but need further investigation to evaluate their relevance in vivo. Animal carcinogenicity studies deliver evidence of carcinogenicity in the rat; however, lung overload may be a species-specific confounding factor in the existing studies, and studies in other species do not give convincing evidence of carcinogenicity. Epidemiology has been intensively discussed over the last years and has the problem that the studies base on the same US beryllium production population and do not distinguish between metal and soluble compounds. It is noted that the correlation between beryllium exposure and carcinogenicity, even including the soluble compounds, remains under discussion in the scientific community and active research is continuing.
acute toxicity; beryllium; carcinogenicity; classification; epidemiology; genotoxicity; inhalation; sensitization
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Essentials model was evaluated using full-shift exposure measurements of five chemical components in a mixture [acetone, ethylbenzene, methyl ethyl ketone, toluene, and xylenes] at a medium-sized plant producing paint materials. Two tasks, batch-making and bucket-washing, were examined. Varying levels of control were already established in both tasks and the average exposures of individual chemicals were considerably lower than the regulatory and advisory 8-h standards. The average exposure fractions using the additive mixture formula were also less than unity (batch-making: 0.25, bucket-washing: 0.56) indicating the mixture of chemicals did not exceed the combined occupational exposure limit (OEL). The paper version of the COSHH Essentials model was used to calculate a predicted exposure range (PER) for each chemical according to different levels of control. The estimated PERs of the tested chemicals for both tasks did not show consistent agreement with exposure measurements when the comparison was made for each control method and this is believed to be because of the considerably different volatilities of the chemicals. Given the combination of health hazard and exposure potential components, the COSHH Essentials model recommended a control approach ‘special advice’ for both tasks, based on the potential reproductive hazard ascribed to toluene. This would not have been the same conclusion if some other chemical had been substituted (for example styrene, which has the same threshold limit value as toluene). Nevertheless, it was special advice, which had led to the combination of hygienic procedures in place at this plant. The probability of the combined exposure fractions exceeding unity was 0.0002 for the batch-making task indicating that the employees performing this task were most likely well protected below the OELs. Although the employees involved in the bucket-washing task had greater potential to exceed the threshold limit value of the mixture (P > 1 = 0.2375), the expected personal exposure after adjusting for the assigned protection factor for the respirators in use would be considerably lower (P > 1 = 0.0161). Thus, our findings suggested that the COSHH essentials model worked reasonably well for the volatile organic chemicals at the plant. However, it was difficult to override the reproductive hazard even though it was meant to be possible in principle. Further, it became apparent that an input of existing controls, which is not possible in the web-based model, may have allowed the model be more widely applicable. The experience of using the web-based COSHH Essentials model generated some suggestions to provide a more user-friendly tool to the model users who do not have expertise in occupational hygiene.
control banding; COSHH Essentials; exposure assessment; occupational exposure limits; paint; R-phrases; REACH; risk assessment tool; risk management
Recent recommendations for wood dust sampling include sampling according to the inhalable convention of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 7708 (1995) Air quality—particle size fraction definitions for health-related sampling. However, a specific sampling device is not mandated, and while several samplers have laboratory performance approaching theoretical for an ‘inhalable’ sampler, the best choice of sampler for wood dust is not clear. A side-by-side field study was considered the most practical test of samplers as laboratory performance tests consider overall performance based on a wider range of particle sizes than are commonly encountered in the wood products industry. Seven companies in the wood products industry of the Southeast USA (MS, KY, AL, and WV) participated in this study. The products included hardwood flooring, engineered hardwood flooring, door skins, shutter blinds, kitchen cabinets, plywood, and veneer. The samplers selected were 37-mm closed-face cassette with ACCU-CAP™, Button, CIP10-I, GSP, and Institute of Occupational Medicine. Approximately 30 of each possible pairwise combination of samplers were collected as personal sample sets. Paired samplers of the same type were used to calculate environmental variance that was then used to determine the number of pairs of samples necessary to detect any difference at a specified level of confidence. Total valid sample number was 888 (444 valid pairs). The mass concentration of wood dust ranged from 0.02 to 195 mg m−3. Geometric mean (geometric standard deviation) and arithmetic mean (standard deviation) of wood dust were 0.98 mg m−3 (3.06) and 2.12 mg m−3 (7.74), respectively. One percent of the samples exceeded 15 mg m−3, 6% exceeded 5 mg m−3, and 48% exceeded 1 mg m−3. The number of collected pairs is generally appropriate to detect a 35% difference when outliers (negative mass loadings) are removed. Statistical evaluation of the nonsimilar sampler pair results produced a finding of no significant difference between any pairing of sampler type. A practical consideration for sampling in the USA is that the ACCU-CAP™ is similar to the sampler currently used by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for purposes of demonstrating compliance with its permissible exposure limit for wood dust, which is the same as for Particles Not Otherwise Regulated, also known as inert dust or nuisance dust (Method PV2121).
ACCU-CAP™; Button sampler; CIP10-I sampler; GSP sampler; inhalable sampling; IOM sampler; wood dust
This paper integrates perspectives from analytical chemistry, environmental engineering, and industrial hygiene to better understand how workers may be exposed to perfluorinated carboxylic acids when handling them in the workplace in order to identify appropriate exposure controls. Due to the dramatic difference in physical properties of the protonated acid form and the anionic form, this family of chemicals provides unique industrial hygiene challenges. Workplace monitoring, experimental data, and modeling results were used to ascertain the most probable workplace exposure sources and transport mechanisms for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and its ammonium salt (APFO). PFOA is biopersistent and its measurement in the blood has been used to assess human exposure since it integrates exposure from all routes of entry. Monitoring suggests that inhalation of airborne material may be an important exposure route. Transport studies indicated that, under low pH conditions, PFOA, the undissociated (acid) species, actively partitions from water into air. In addition, solid-phase PFOA and APFO may also sublime into the air. Modeling studies determined that contributions from surface sublimation and loss from low pH aqueous solutions can be significant potential sources of workplace exposure. These findings suggest that keeping surfaces clean, preventing accumulation of material in unventilated areas, removing solids from waste trenches and sumps, and maintaining neutral pH in sumps can lower workplace exposures.
APFO; exposure assessment; perfluoroacid; PFOA; sublimation; surface contamination; vapor pressure
Air monitoring surveys were conducted between 1998 and 2001 at seven non-metal mining facilities to assess exposure to respirable elemental carbon (REC), a component of diesel exhaust (DE), for an epidemiologic study of miners exposed to DE. Personal exposure measurements were taken on workers in a cross-section of jobs located underground and on the surface. Air samples taken to measure REC were also analyzed for respirable organic carbon (ROC). Concurrent measurements to assess exposure to nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), two gaseous components of DE, were also taken. The REC measurements were used to develop quantitative estimates of average exposure levels by facility, department, and job title for the epidemiologic analysis. Each underground job was assigned to one of three sets of exposure groups from specific to general: (i) standardized job titles, (ii) groups of standardized job titles combined based on the percentage of time in the major underground areas, and (iii) larger groups based on similar area carbon monoxide (CO) air concentrations. Surface jobs were categorized based on their use of diesel equipment and proximity to DE. A total of 779 full-shift personal measurements were taken underground. The average REC exposure levels for underground jobs with five or more measurements ranged from 31 to 58 μg m−3 at the facility with the lowest average exposure levels and from 313 to 488 μg m−3 at the facility with the highest average exposure levels. The average REC exposure levels for surface workers ranged from 2 to 6 μg m−3 across the seven facilities. There was much less contrast in the ROC compared with REC exposure levels measured between surface and underground workers within each facility, as well as across the facilities. The average ROC levels underground ranged from 64 to 195 μg m−3, while on the surface, the average ROC levels ranged from 38 to 71 μg m−3 by facility, an ∼2- to 3-fold difference. The average NO and NO2 levels underground ranged from 0.20 to 1.49 parts per million (ppm) and from 0.10 to 0.60 ppm, respectively, and were ∼10 times higher than levels on the surface, which ranged from 0.02 to 0.11 ppm and from 0.01 to 0.06 ppm, respectively. The ROC, NO, and NO2 concentrations underground were correlated with the REC levels (r = 0.62, 0.71, and 0.62, respectively). A total of 80% of the underground jobs were assigned an exposure estimate based on measurements taken for the specific job title or for other jobs with a similar percentage of time spent in the major underground work areas. The average REC exposure levels by facility were from 15 to 64 times higher underground than on the surface. The large contrast in exposure levels measured underground versus on the surface, along with the differences between the mining facilities and between underground jobs within the facilities resulted in a wide distribution in the exposure estimates for evaluation of exposure–response relationships in the epidemiologic analyses.
diesel exhaust; miners; elemental carbon; exposure assessment; job groups
We developed quantitative estimates of historical exposures to respirable elemental carbon (REC) for an epidemiologic study of mortality, including lung cancer, among diesel-exposed miners at eight non-metal mining facilities [the Diesel Exhaust in Miners Study (DEMS)]. Because there were no historical measurements of diesel exhaust (DE), historical REC (a component of DE) levels were estimated based on REC data from monitoring surveys conducted in 1998–2001 as part of the DEMS investigation. These values were adjusted for underground workers by carbon monoxide (CO) concentration trends in the mines derived from models of historical CO (another DE component) measurements and DE determinants such as engine horsepower (HP; 1 HP = 0.746 kW) and mine ventilation. CO was chosen to estimate historical changes because it was the most frequently measured DE component in our study facilities and it was found to correlate with REC exposure. Databases were constructed by facility and year with air sampling data and with information on the total rate of airflow exhausted from the underground operations in cubic feet per minute (CFM) (1 CFM = 0.0283 m3 min−1), HP of the diesel equipment in use (ADJ HP), and other possible determinants. The ADJ HP purchased after 1990 (ADJ HP1990+) was also included to account for lower emissions from newer, cleaner engines. Facility-specific CO levels, relative to those in the DEMS survey year for each year back to the start of dieselization (1947–1967 depending on facility), were predicted based on models of observed CO concentrations and log-transformed (Ln) ADJ HP/CFM and Ln(ADJ HP1990+). The resulting temporal trends in relative CO levels were then multiplied by facility/department/job-specific REC estimates derived from the DEMS surveys personal measurements to obtain historical facility/department/job/year-specific REC exposure estimates. The facility-specific temporal trends of CO levels (and thus the REC estimates) generated from these models indicated that CO concentrations had been generally greater in the past than during the 1998–2001 DEMS surveys, with the highest levels ranging from 100 to 685% greater (median: 300%). These levels generally occurred between 1970 and the early 1980s. A comparison of the CO facility-specific model predictions with CO air concentration measurements from a 1976–1977 survey external to the modeling showed that our model predictions were slightly lower than those observed (median relative difference of 29%; range across facilities: 49 to –25%). In summary, we successfully modeled past CO concentration levels using selected determinants of DE exposure to derive retrospective estimates of REC exposure. The results suggested large variations in REC exposure levels both between and within the underground operations of the facilities and over time. These REC exposure estimates were in a plausible range and were used in the investigation of exposure–response relationships in epidemiologic analyses.
elemental carbon; miners; exposure assessment; carbon monoxide; diesel exhaust
Nanoparticles are used in industrial and domestic applications to control customized product properties. But there are several uncertainties concerning possible hazard to health safety and environment. Hence, it is necessary to search for methods to analyze the particle release from typical application processes. Based on a survey of commercial sanding machines, the relevant sanding process parameters were employed for the design of a miniature sanding test setup in a particle-free environment for the quantification of the nanoparticle release into air from surface coatings. The released particles were moved by a defined airflow to a fast mobility particle sizer and other aerosol measurement equipment to enable the determination of released particle numbers additionally to the particle size distribution. First, results revealed a strong impact of the coating material on the swarf mass and the number of released particles.
abrasion process; exposure; nanoparticle additives; nanoparticle release; sanding process; surface coatings
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.
calm air chamber; CIP10-R; FSP10; GK2.69; high flow rate sampler; respirable fraction; sampling efficiency
Detailed investigations were conducted at a facility that manufactures and processes carbon nanofibers (CNFs). Presented research summarizes the direct-reading monitoring aspects of the study. A mobile aerosol sampling platform, equipped with an aerosol instrument array, was used to characterize emissions at different locations within the facility. Particle number, respirable mass, active surface area, and photoelectric response were monitored with a condensation particle counter (CPC), a photometer, a diffusion charger, and a photoelectric aerosol sensor, respectively. CO and CO2 were additionally monitored. Combined simultaneous monitoring of these metrics can be utilized to determine source and relative contribution of airborne particles (CNFs and others) within a workplace. Elevated particle number concentrations, up to 1.15 × 106 cm−3, were found within the facility but were not due to CNFs. Ultrafine particle emissions, released during thermal treatment of CNFs, were primarily responsible. In contrast, transient increases in respirable particle mass concentration, with a maximum of 1.1 mg m−3, were due to CNF release through uncontrolled transfer and bagging. Of the applied metrics, our findings suggest that particle mass was probably the most useful and practical metric for monitoring CNF emissions in this facility. Through chemical means, CNFs may be selectively distinguished from other workplace contaminants (Birch et al., in preparation), and for direct-reading monitoring applications, the photometer was found to provide a reasonable estimate of respirable CNF mass concentration. Particle size distribution measurements were conducted with an electrical low-pressure impactor and a fast particle size spectrometer. Results suggest that the dominant CNF mode by particle number lies between 200 and 250 nm for both aerodynamic and mobility equivalent diameters. Significant emissions of CO were also evident in this facility. Exposure control recommendations were described for processes as required.
carbon monoxide; emissions; exposure; exposure controls; nanofibers; nanomaterial; nanoparticle; nanotubes; occupational; ultrafine; workplace