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AIHA J (Fairfax, Va). 2002 Jul-Aug;63(4):458-67.

The effect of local exhaust ventilation controls on dust exposures during concrete cutting and grinding activities.

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University of Washington, Department of Environmental Health, Field Research & Consultation Group, 4225 Roosevelt Way NE, Suite 100, Seattle, WA 98105-6099, USA.

Erratum in

  • AIHA J (Fairfax, Va). 2003 Mar-Apr;64(2):172.


This study assessed the effectiveness of commercially available local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems for controlling respirable dust and crystalline silica exposures during concrete cutting and grinding activities. Work activities were performed by union-sponsored apprentices and included tuck-point grinding, surface grinding, paver block and brick cutting (masonry saw), and concrete block cutting (hand-held saw). In a randomized block design, implemented under controlled field conditions, three ventilation rates (0, 30, and 75 cfm) were tested for each tool. Each ventilation treatment was replicated three times in random order for a total of nine 15-min work sessions per study subject. With the exception of the hand-held saw, the use of LEV resulted in a significant (p < 0.05) reduction in respirable dust exposure. Mean exposure levels for the 75 cfm treatments were less than that of the 30 cfm treatments; however, differences between these two treatments were only significant for paver block cutting (p < 0.01). Although exposure reduction was significant (70-90% at the low ventilation rate and 80-95% reduction at the high ventilation rate), personal respirable dust [corrected] exposures remained very high: 1.4-2.8 x PEL (permissible exposure limit) at the low ventilation rate and 0.9-1.7 x PEL at the high ventilation rate. Exposure levels found under actual field conditions would likely be lower due to the intermittent nature of most job tasks. Despite incomplete control LEV has merit, as it would reduce the risk of workers developing disease, allow workers to use a lower level of respiratory protection, protect workers during short duration work episodes reduce exposure to nearby workers, and reduce clean-up associated dust exposures.

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