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Min Metall Explor. 2019 Aug;36(4):765-772. doi: 10.1007/s42461-019-0064-8. Epub 2019 Apr 22.

Towards a Field-Portable Real-Time Organic and Elemental Carbon Monitor.

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CDC NIOSH, Spokane, WA, USA.
University of California Davis, Davis, CA, USA.
Griffiths Consulting LLC, Ogden, UT, USA.


Diesel particulate matter (DPM) has been classified as a carcinogen to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. As a result of its potential carcinogenic nature, DPM exposure is regulated by the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Currently, diesel emissions in the workplace are monitored by collecting the aerosol onto filters, which are then sent to a laboratory for thermal-optical analysis using the NIOSH method 5040. This process can take days or even weeks, and workers can potentially be exposed to excessive levels of DPM before the problem is identified. Moreover, the delay involved in getting the loaded filter to the lab inevitably means the loss of some of the more volatile organic carbon. To remedy this delay, researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health are seeking to develop a field-portable, real-time method for measuring elemental and organic carbons in DPM aerosols. In the current study, the use of mid-infrared spectrometry was investigated. It is believed that mid-infrared spectroscopy is more suitable for use in a real-time field-portable device than thermo-optical analysis methods. This article presents a method for measuring organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) in DPM for a broad range of OC/EC ratios. The method has been successfully applied to laboratory-generated and mine samples.


Diesel particulate matter; Elemental carbon; Organic carbon; Real-time monitor

[Available on 2020-08-01]

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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