The application of dustiness tests to the prediction of worker dust exposure.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Cincinnati, OH.
AIHAJ 05/1990; 51(4):217-23. DOI: 10.1080/15298669091369565
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Laboratory bench tests, known as dustiness tests, have been used to evaluate and compare the potential of various powders to cause occupational dust exposure. Dustiness tests are used to develop products with reduced dust emissions. The correlation between dustiness test results and dust exposures was evaluated at two bag dumping and bag filling operations. At one bag dumping and one bag filling operation, there was evidence of a relationship between dustiness test results and dust exposures. In one case, regression analysis showed that dust exposures could be predicted to within nearly one order of magnitude. The variability in this prediction was caused by the inherent variability in the occupational dust exposures. In the other case, there was evidence of a correlation after the data had been adjusted for the effect of varying drop height. At the remaining two operations, no correlation between dust exposures and dustiness test results were observed. These results indicate that the relevance of dustiness tests to occupational dust exposure needs to be evaluated at each site. Because a better option does not exist, manufacturers should continue to use empirical dustiness tests to develop better products in the laboratory. The conclusions reached in the laboratory need to be validated by dust exposure measurements in the field, however.

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    ABSTRACT: Respirable dustiness represents the tendency of a powder to generate respirable airborne dust during handling and therefore indicates the propensity for a powder to become an inhalation hazard. The dustiness of 14 powders, including 10 different nanopowders, was evaluated with the use of a novel low-mass dustiness tester designed to minimize the use of the test powder. The aerosol created from 15-mg powder samples falling down a tube were measured with an aerodynamic particle sizer (APS). Particle counts integrated throughout the pulse of aerosol created by the falling powder were used to calculate a respirable dustiness mass fraction (D, mg/kg). An amorphous silicon dioxide nanopowder produced a respirable D of 121.4 mg/kg, which was significantly higher than all other powders (p < 0.001). Many nanopowders produced D values that were not significantly different from large-particle powders, such as Arizona Road Dust and bentonite clay. In general, fibrous nanopowders and powders with primary particles >100 nm are not as dusty as those containing granular, nano-sized primary particles. The method used here, incorporating an APS, represents a deviation from a standard method but resulted in dustiness values comparable to other standard methods.
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    ABSTRACT: Background:Although dustiness and viscosity are potential determinants of dermal exposure, their effect on exposure is poorly understood. The goal of this study was to investigate the effect of dustiness and viscosity on dermal exposure by each of three dermal exposure pathways (deposition, surface contact, and immersion). METHODS: The hands of four volunteers were exposed to non-toxic substances: particulate with varying dustiness (calcium acetate, zinc oxide, and Epsom salt) and liquids of varying viscosity (three glycerol/water solutions containing 20, 50, or 85% glycerol) by each pathway. Dermal exposure was measured by a systematic wipe of the entire hand. Calcium acetate, zinc oxide, and Epsom salts were analysed on wipes by inductively coupled plasma/atomic emission spectrometry and glycerol was measured by gas chromatography with a flame ionization detector. The relationship between exposure and either dustiness or viscosity was examined using either parametric (analysis of variance) or non-parametric (Kruskal-Wallis) tests. RESULTS: Both viscosity and dustiness appeared to have an effect on dermal exposure. Increasing viscosity lead to higher exposures by the immersion pathway (P < 0.001) but lower exposures by the deposition pathway (although this relationship was not statistically significant: P = 0.19). Viscosity had no apparent effect on exposure from surface contact. Dustiness did not affect transfer of particulate to the skin by immersion (P = 0.403) but it did affect exposure by the surface transfer and deposition pathways. The dustiest substance (calcium acetate) transferred to skin more readily following contact with contaminated surfaces than zinc oxide or Epsom salts (P = 0.016). For the deposition pathway, the highest exposures were seen for the dustiest substance (calcium acetate) but statistical analysis was not conducted as 67% of measurements were below detection limits. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that both viscosity and dustiness can affect dermal exposure. They also show that the determinants of dermal exposure can be different for each of the dermal exposure pathways.
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    ABSTRACT: Dustiness may be defined as the propensity of a powder to form airborne dust by a prescribed mechanical stimulus; dustiness testing is typically intended to replicate mechanisms of dust generation encountered in workplaces. A novel dustiness testing device, developed for pharmaceutical application, was evaluated in the dustiness investigation of 27 fine and nanoscale powders. The device efficiently dispersed small (mg) quantities of a wide variety of fine and nanoscale powders, into a small sampling chamber. Measurements consisted of gravimetrically determined total and respirable dustiness. The following materials were studied: single and multiwalled carbon nanotubes, carbon nanofibers, and carbon blacks; fumed oxides of titanium, aluminum, silicon, and cerium; metallic nanoparticles (nickel, cobalt, manganese, and silver) silicon carbide, Arizona road dust; nanoclays; and lithium titanate. Both the total and respirable dustiness spanned two orders of magnitude (0.3-37.9% and 0.1-31.8% of the predispersed test powders, respectively). For many powders, a significant respirable dustiness was observed. For most powders studied, the respirable dustiness accounted for approximately one-third of the total dustiness. It is believed that this relationship holds for many fine and nanoscale test powders (i.e. those primarily selected for this study), but may not hold for coarse powders. Neither total nor respirable dustiness was found to be correlated with BET surface area, therefore dustiness is not determined by primary particle size. For a subset of test powders, aerodynamic particle size distributions by number were measured (with an electrical low-pressure impactor and an aerodynamic particle sizer). Particle size modes ranged from approximately 300nm to several micrometers, but no modes below 100nm, were observed. It is therefore unlikely that these materials would exhibit a substantial sub-100nm particle contribution in a workplace.
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