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J Environ Monit. 2002 Oct;4(5):642-7.

Determining particle size distributions in the inhalable size range for wood dust collected by air samplers.

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1
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294-0022, USA.

Abstract

In the absence of methods for determining particle size distributions in the inhalable size range with good discrimination, the samples collected by personal air sampling devices can only be characterized by their total mass. This parameter gives no information regarding the size distribution of the aerosol or the size-selection characteristics of different samplers in field use conditions. A method is described where the particles collected by a sampler are removed, suspended, and re-deposited on a mixed cellulose-ester filter, and examined by optical microscopy to determine particle aerodynamic diameters. This method is particularly appropriate to wood dust particles which are generally large and close to rectangular prisms in shape. Over 200 wood dust samples have been collected in three different wood-products industries, using the traditional closed-face polystyrene/acrylonitrile cassette, the Institute of Occupational Medicine inhalable sampler, and the Button sampler developed by the University of Cincinnati. A portion of these samples has been analyzed to determine the limitations of this method. Extensive quality control measures are being developed to improve the robustness of the procedure, and preliminary results suggest the method has an accuracy similar to that required of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) methods. The results should provide valuable insights into the collection characteristics of the samplers and the impact of these characteristics on comparison of sampler results to present and potential future limit values. The NIOSH Deep South Education and Research Center has a focus on research into hazards of the forestry and associated wood-products industry, and it is hoped to expand this activity in the future.

PMID:
12400908
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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