Metal exposure among abrasive blasting workers at four U.S. Air Force facilities.Appl Occup Environ Hyg. 2000 Oct; 15(10):766-72.AO
Button Aerosol Samplers were used to monitor the personal exposure of workers performing abrasive blasting operations at four U.S. Air Force facilities. Inhalable aerosols containing 25 metals, including cadmium, lead, and chromium, were investigated. The Button Aerosol Sampler was chosen because of its ability to successfully withstand mechanical stress, prevent very large particles from collection, and protect the filter from overloading and shredding by rebound particles. In addition, previous studies have shown that the sampling efficiency of this personal Aerosol Sampler exhibits low sensitivity to the ambient air conditions and that it adequately follows the inhalability convention. Inductively coupled plasma (ICP) was used to analyze the collected samples for all 25 metals. In addition, visual absorption spectrophotometry (VAS) was used to analyze for hexavalent chromium because of the presence of strontium chromate. The collected samples yielded 8-hr time-weighted average (TWA) concentrations that were up to 250, 6, and 5 times higher than the permissible exposure limits (PELs) for cadmium, lead, and hexavalent chromium, respectively. Also, the chromium levels measured by the ICP and VAS exceeded the strontium chromate threshold limit value (TLV) by up to 640 and 950 times, respectively. No correlation was found between the ICP and VAS hexavalent chromium concentrations. The likely reasons of this were the presence of Cr (II) and (III) that cannot be detected by the VAS, and the chemical interference from iron and some other metals in the samples. The Button Aerosol Sampler was shown to be useful for the monitoring of workers' exposure to heavy metals during abrasive blasting operations.