The primary objectives of this study were (a) to measure potential exposures of applicators and assistants to airborne methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), (b) to measure airborne concentrations of MDI at various distances from the spray foam application, and (c) to measure airborne MDI concentrations as a function of time elapsed since application. Other study objectives were, (a) to compare the results from filter and impinger samples; (b) to determine the particle size distribution in the spray foam aerosol; (c) to determine potential exposures to dichlorofluoroethane; and (d) to measure any off-gassing of MDI after the foam had fully cured. This study was conducted during application of spray polyurethane foam inside five single-family homes under construction in the United States and Canada. Spray foam applicators and assistants may be exposed to airborne MDI concentrations above the OSHA permissible exposure limit. At these concentrations, OSHA recommends appropriate respiratory protection during spray foam application to prevent airborne MDI exposures above established limits and to protect against exposure to dichlorofluoroethane (HCFC-141b). Airborne MDI concentrations decrease rapidly after foam application ceases. The highest airborne concentrations measured after 15 min and 45 min were 0.019 mg/m3 and 0.003 mg/m3, respectively. After 45 min, airborne concentrations were below the limit of quantitation (LOQ) of 0.036-microg per sample. For samples taken 24 hours after completion of foaming, results were also below the LOQ. Approximately two-thirds of the total mass of the airborne particles in the spray foam aerosol was greater than 3.5 microns in diameter. Airborne MDI concentrations determined by filter sampling methods were 6% to 40% lower than those determined by impinger methods.
The main objective of the present paper is to report on the concentration of silicon carbide (SiC) fibres, crystalline silica and respirable dust in a Canadian SiC production plant and to compare the results with earlier investigations. The second objective is to tentatively explain the differences in concentration of the fibrogenic substances between different countries. The assessment of SiC fibres, dusts, respirable quartz and cristobalite was performed according to standard procedures. The highest 8 h time-weighted average concentrations of fibres were found among the crusher and backhoe attendants and the carboselectors with an arithmetic mean of 0.63 fibres ml(-1) for the former group and 0.51 fibres ml(-1) for the latter group. The results of respirable SiC fibres in the Canadian plant were lower than in the Norwegian and Italian industries. Most of the 8 h time-weighted average concentrations for quartz were less than or around the limit of detection of 0.01 mg m(-3). The maximum 8 h time-weighted average concentration for quartz was found among the carboselectors (0.157 mg m(-3)), followed by the labourers (0.032 mg m(-3)). Similarly, most of the 8 h time-weighted average cristobalite measurements were less than the limit of detection of 0.01 mg m(-3) except for the carboselectors where it was found to be 0.044 mg m(-3). The assessment of the Italian occupational settings exposure demonstrated elevated quartz concentrations, while cristobalite was absent. The authors have concluded that the investigations that were performed in the last two decades in this field by researchers from different countries seem to support that SiC fibres (whiskers) constitute a major airborne health hazard.
The purpose of this study was to quantify and identify the airborne contamination in eastern Canadian sawmills. Seventeen sawmills were chosen to cover a wide range of size, geographic distribution, and wood species processed. Within each sawmill different work sites (debarking, sawing, sorting, or planing) were studied separately. Area sampling was performed for exposure assessment. Microbial contaminants were assessed with all-glass impingers 30 and six-stage Andersen microbial samplers; appropriate selective media and culture conditions for bacteria, thermophilic actinomycetes, molds, and yeasts were used. Inhalable dust, endotoxins, temperature, and humidity also were measured. Penicillium species were the most predominant molds with up to 40 different Penicillium species identified. Debarking was the working site most highly contaminated by molds, bacteria, and endotoxins (p=0.0001). At this working site mold levels reached a maximum of 1.5 x 10(6) CFU/m3, whereas the median values for culturable bacteria and endotoxin were 21,620 CFU/m3 and 1,081 endotoxin units/m3, respectively. Planing sites were the most highly dust contaminated (median: 3.0 mg/m3) (p
Peat moss is organic matter colonized by large numbers of microorganisms. Storage prior to its processing may result in massive microbial growth. These biological contaminants can become airborne during processing. Our goals were (a) to evaluate concentrations of bioaerosols (inhalable dust, molds, bacteria) in peat moss processing plants that used dust removing systems, and (b) to evaluate the presence of these microorganisms in peat moss. Fourteen plants from Eastern Canada were visited; 3 plants operated all year (all-year mixing plants), and 11 plants functioned only during summer months (seasonal). Air samples were taken throughout the day at different work sites using IOM cassettes for inhalable dust and All-Glass Impinger-30 samplers and Andersen six-stage impactors for microorganisms. Samples of nonprocessed and bagged peat moss (solid material) were also taken and analyzed. A total of 25 work sites for air sampling and 33 solid material samples were analyzed. Air samples contained up to 441.7 mg/m3 of inhalable dust and up to 1.0 x 10(8) CFU/m3 mesophilic molds and 3.3 x 10(5) CFU/m3 bacteria. Seasonal plants were more contaminated with molds and dust than all-year mixing plants. Sieving sites were the most highly contaminated work sites. Airborne dust concentration was significantly correlated with molds and bacteria. Up to 3.8 x 10(7) CFU/g (dry weight) and 4.8 x 10(7) CFU/g (dry weight) molds and bacteria, respectively, were found in the solid material samples. Airborne contaminants did not correlate with solid material content. Despite the use of dust removing systems, peat moss processing plants contain very large amounts of microbially contaminated bioaerosols that do not correlate with the quality of the processed peat. Efficiency of dust removing systems could influence the contamination levels.
Bacteria, moulds, endotoxin and quartz from respirable dust of agricultural and industrial buildings are typically incriminated for the respiratory health decline of exposed workers despite that dust being an undefined mixture and quantification methods of aerosolized bacteria, moulds or endotoxin not being standardized yet. We developed an in vitro alveolar epithelial cell system in which biological activities of peat moss factories' dust might be correlated to bacteria, mould, endotoxin and quartz concentrations of the analyzed samples. Following exposure, interleukin-8 protein secretion, necrosis and apoptosis of the exposed A549 cells were monitored respectively with ELISA on cell supernatants, trypan blue exclusion and DNA fragmentation detection by flow cytometry. Respirable dust was collected with liquid impingers and respirable quartz with 10mm Dorr-Oliver cyclones. We quantified mesophilic bacteria, mesophilic moulds and endotoxins from liquid impinger samples. No correlation was observed between biological activities of dust and bacteria, mould, endotoxin or quartz concentrations under our experimental conditions. Our speculation is that simple measurements, such as dust concentrations, may not be adequate indicators of the human respiratory health hazard for a given environment.
Compressed breathing air, used in self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) by firefighters and other categories of workers as well as by recreational and commercial divers, is prepared with the aid of high-pressure compressors operating in the range of 5000 psig. There have been reports of unexplained deaths of SCUBA divers and anecdotal accounts of decreased time to exhaustion in firefighters using SCBAs. Compressed breathing air has been found to contain elevated levels of carbon monoxide (CO) and water vapor that are consistent with carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) poisoning and freezing of the user's regulator on the breathing apparatus. The Coburn-Forster-Kane equation (CFK equation) was used to estimate COHb levels at rest and at maximum exercise when exposed to different levels of CO in contaminated breathing air. The results demonstrated that, at maximum exercise, the COHb ranged from 6.0 to 17% with the use of 1 to 4 SCBA cylinders contaminated by 250 ppm CO. Standard operating procedures have been developed at the Montreal Fire Department to minimize the risk of compressed breathing air contamination. Results of the quality analysis/quality control program indicate that implementation of these procedures has improved the quality of the compressed breathing air. Recommendations are made for improvement of the air testing procedures mandated by the Canadian CAN3 180.1-M85 Standard on Compressed Breathing Air and Systems.
In this paper a comparison is made between the build-up of U thorax burdens and the predicted total lung (lung and lymph) burden, based on the lung model provided in ICRP Publication 30 for a group of 29 atomic radiation workers at a Canadian fuel fabrication facility. A similar comparison is made between the predicted ratio of the total lung burden to urinary excretion and the ratio obtained from bioassay data. The study period for the comparison is 5 y. The inhalation input for the lung model calculations was derived from air-sampling data and the choice of particle size activity median aerodynamic diameter (AMAD) was guided by particle size measurements made at representative work locations. The pulmonary clearance half-times studied were 100, 250 and 500 d. For the purpose of this comparison, averaged exposure and averaged bioassay data for the group were used. This comparison indicates that for the conditions of this facility, the assumption of a 500-d pulmonary clearance half-time and a particle size of 1 micron (AMAD) may be too conservative. It is suggested that measurements of air concentrations and particle size used as input parameters for the ICRP Publication 30 lung model may be used to calculate bioassay parameters which may then be tested against bioassay data obtained as part of an operational health physics program, thereby giving a useful step towards defining a derived air concentration value for U in the workplace.
SYNERGY is a large pooled analysis of case-control studies on the joint effects of occupational carcinogens and smoking in the development of lung cancer. A quantitative job-exposure matrix (JEM) will be developed to assign exposures to five major lung carcinogens [asbestos, chromium, nickel, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), and respirable crystalline silica (RCS)]. We assembled an exposure database, called ExpoSYN, to enable such a quantitative exposure assessment.
Existing exposure databases were identified and European and Canadian research institutes were approached to identify pertinent exposure measurement data. Results of individual air measurements were entered anonymized according to a standardized protocol.
The ExpoSYN database currently includes 356?551 measurements from 19 countries. In total, 140 666 personal and 215?885 stationary data points were available. Measurements were distributed over the five agents as follows: RCS (42%), asbestos (20%), chromium (16%), nickel (15%), and PAH (7%). The measurement data cover the time period from 1951 to present. However, only a small portion of measurements (1.4%) were performed prior to 1975. The major contributing countries for personal measurements were Germany (32%), UK (22%), France (14%), and Norway and Canada (both 11%).
ExpoSYN is a unique occupational exposure database with measurements from 18 European countries and Canada covering a time period of >50 years. This database will be used to develop a country-, job-, and time period-specific quantitative JEM. This JEM will enable data-driven quantitative exposure assessment in a multinational pooled analysis of community-based lung cancer case-control studies.
In 1999, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH(R)) proposed a Threshold Limit Value (TLV(R)) of 0.5 mg/m(3) for flour dust with a sensitization notation. The Labour Program of the Department of Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC), following notice of the intention to set a TLV, conducted a study of the levels of exposure to flour dust in flour mills across Canada to verify existing conditions, as well as to decide whether to adopt the proposed TLV or reference some other value. As part of the study, a relationship between flour dust concentrations obtained by using Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) samplers and closed-face 37-mm cassettes was examined and the literature on the health effects of exposure to flour dust was reviewed. A total of 104 millers, packers, sweepers, bakery mix operators, and others (mixed tasks) from 14 flour mills were sampled over an 8-hour work shift using IOM samplers. The results indicate that 101 employees (97.1%) were exposed to levels exceeding 0.5 mg/m(3), 66 employees (67.3%) to levels exceeding 5 mg/m(3), and 44 employees (42.3%) to levels exceeding 10 mg/m(3). For comparison purposes, flour dust measurements were also taken in a highly automated flour mill using state-of-the-art technology. The results suggest that even with the most up-to-date technology and proper cleaning operations in place, the flour milling industry may not be able to reduce the flour dust levels to below the TLV of 0.5 mg/m(3). According to the measurements of inhalable and total dust concentrations, the IOM sampler appears to be a more efficient collector of inhalable airborne particles up to 100 microm than the closed-face 37-mm cassette.