A water soluble additive to suppress respirable dust from concrete-cutting chainsaws: a case study.J Occup Environ Hyg. 2015; 12(4):D29-34.JO
Respirable dust is of particular concern in the construction industry because it contains crystalline silica. Respirable forms of silica are a severe health threat because they heighten the risk of numerous respirable diseases. Concrete cutting, a common work practice in the construction industry, is a major contributor to dust generation. No studies have been found that focus on the dust suppression of concrete-cutting chainsaws, presumably because, during normal operation water is supplied continuously and copiously to the dust generation points. However, there is a desire to better understand dust creation at low water flow rates. In this case study, a water-soluble surfactant additive was used in the chainsaw's water supply. Cutting was performed on a free-standing concrete wall in a covered outdoor lab with a hand-held, gas-powered, concrete-cutting chainsaw. Air was sampled at the operator's lapel, and around the concrete wall to simulate nearby personnel. Two additive concentrations were tested (2.0% and 0.2%), across a range of fluid flow rates (0.38-3.8 Lpm [0.1-1.0 gpm] at 0.38 Lpm [0.1 gpm] increments). Results indicate that when a lower concentration of additive is used exposure levels increase. However, all exposure levels, once adjusted for 3 hours of continuous cutting in an 8-hour work shift, are below the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 5 mg/m(3). Estimates were made using trend lines to predict the fluid flow rates that would cause respirable dust exposure to exceed both the OSHA PEL and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH®) threshold limit value (TLV).