Worker exposure and high time-resolution analyses of process-related submicrometre particle concentrations at mixing stations in two paint factories

Tidsskriftartikel - 2015

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The paint and coatings industry is known to have significant particulate matter (PM) emissions to the atmosphere. However, exposure levels are not studied in detail especially when considering submicrometre (PM1) and ultrafine particles (particle diameter below 100nm). The evidence is increasing that pulmonary exposures to these size fractions are potentially very harmful. This study investigates particle emissions during powder handling and paint mixing in two paint factories at two mixing stations in each factory. In each case measurements were made simultaneously at the mixing station (near-field; NF), as well as at 5-15 m distance into the workroom far-field (FF), and in the workers breathing zone. Particle concentrations (5nm to 30 microm) were measured using high time-resolution particle instruments and gravimetrically using PM1 cyclone filter samplers. The PM1 filters were also characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The NF particle and dust concentration levels were linked to pouring powder and were used to characterize the emissions and efficiencies of localized controls. NF particle number concentrations were 1000-40000cm-3 above FF concentrations. NF particles were mainly between 100 and 500nm and emissions appeared to occur in short bursts. Personal PM1 exposure levels varied between 0.156 and 0.839mg m-3 and were 1.6-15 times higher than stationary NF PM1 concentrations. SEM results verified that the personal exposure and NF particles were strongly dominated by the pigments and fillers used. Better understanding of the entire temporal personal exposure could be improved by using real-time particle monitors for personal exposure measurements. This study provides better insight into PM exposure characteristics and concentration levels in the paint industry

Reference

Koponen IK, Koivisto AJ, Jensen KA. Worker exposure and high time-resolution analyses of process-related submicrometre particle concentrations at mixing stations in two paint factories. Annals of Occupational Hygiene 2015;59(6):749-763.
doi: 10.1093/annhyg/mev014

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