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Personal exposure to inhalable cement dust among construction workers.

By S.M. Peters, Y. Thomassen, E. Fechter-Rink and H. Kromhout

Abstract

Objective- A case study was carried out to assess cement dust exposure and its determinants among construction workers and for comparison among workers in cement and concrete production.Methods- Full-shift personal exposure measurements were performed and samples were analysed for inhalable dust and its cement content. Exposure variability was modelled with linear mixed models.Results- Inhalable dust concentrations at the construction site ranged from 0.05 to 34 mg/m(3), with a mean of 1.0 mg/m(3). Average concentration for inhalable cement dust was 0.3 mg/m(3) (GM; range 0.02-17 mg/m(3)). Levels in the ready-mix and pre-cast concrete plants were on average 0.5 mg/m(3) (GM) for inhalable dust and 0.2 mg/m(3) (GM) for inhalable cement dust. Highest concentrations were measured in cement production, particularly during cleaning tasks (inhalable dust GM = 55 mg/m(3); inhalable cement dust GM = 33 mg/m(3)) at which point the workers wore personal protective equipment. Elemental measurements showed highest but very variable cement percentages in the cement plant and very low percentages during reinforcement work and pouring. Most likely other sources were contributing to dust concentrations, particularly at the construction site. Within job groups, temporal variability in exposure concentrations generally outweighed differences in average concentrations between workers. 'Using a broom', 'outdoor wind speed' and 'presence of rain' were overall the most influential factors affecting inhalable (cement) dust exposure.Conclusion- Job type appeared to be the main predictor of exposure to inhalable (cement) dust at the construction site. Inhalable dust concentrations in cement production plants, especially during cleaning tasks, are usually considerably higher than at the construction site

Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:dspace.library.uu.nl:1874/39458
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