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Health risk assessment from exposure to particles during packing in working environments

Tidsskriftartikel - 2019


Packing of raw materials in work environments is a known source of potential health impacts (respiratory, cardiovascular) due to exposure to airborne particles. This activity was selected to test different exposure and risk assessment tools, aiming to understand the effectiveness of source enclosure as a strategy to mitigate particle release. Worker exposure to particle mass and number concentrations was monitored during packing of 7 ceramic materials in 3 packing lines in different settings, with low (L), medium (M) and high (H) degrees of source enclosure. Results showed that packing lines L and M significantly increased exposure concentrations (119-609 μg m-3 respirable, 1150-4705 μg m-3 inhalable, 24,755-51,645 cm-3 particle number), while non-significant increases were detected in line H. These results evidence the effectiveness of source enclosure as a mitigation strategy, in the case of packing of ceramic materials. Total deposited particle surface area during packing ranged between 5.4 and 11.8 × 105 μm2 min-1, with particles depositing mainly in the alveoli (51-64%) followed by head airways (27-41%) and trachea bronchi (7-10%). The comparison between the results from different risk assessment tools (Stoffenmanager, ART, NanoSafer) and the actual measured exposure concentrations evidenced that all of the tools overestimated exposure concentrations, by factors of 1.5-8. Further research is necessary to bridge the current gap between measured and modelled health risk assessments.


Ribalta C, López-Lilao A, Estupiñá S, Fonseca AS, Tobías A, García-Cobos A, Minguillón MC, Monfort E, Viana M. Health risk assessment from exposure to particles during packing in working environments. Science of the Total Environment 2019;671:474-487.
doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.03.347

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