alexa Assessment of airborne asbestos exposure at an asbestos cement sheet and pipe factory in Iran.
Toxicology

Toxicology

Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology

Author(s): Marioryad H, Kakooei H, Shahtaheri SJ, Yunesian M, Azam K

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Abstract Iran imports nearly 55,000 metric tons of asbestos per year, and asbestos cement (AC) plants contribute nearly 94\% of the total national usage. In the present study, asbestos fiber concentrations during AC sheet and pipe manufacturing were measured by phase-contrast microscopy (PCM) and polarized light microscopy (PLM) in 98 personal air samples. The fiber type and its chemical composition were also evaluated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX). Personal monitoring of fiber levels indicated a range from 0.02 to 0.55PCM f/ml (0.02-0.69PLM f/ml). The AC workers' geometric mean asbestos exposure was 0.09 PCM f/ml (0.11 PLM f/ml), with arithmetic mean of 0.13 PCM f/ml (0.16 PLM f/ml). The observed fiber concentrations in many processes were higher than the threshold limit value (TLV) proposed by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), which is 0.1 f/ml. Based on these findings, the PLM values were approximately 25\% higher than PCM values. The SEM data demonstrate that fibrous particles contained chrysotile. The thinnest fiber recognized by SEM had a diameter of 0.2μm. Mean exposure exceeded the TLV for asbestos in pipe molding and finishing (100\%) as well as sheet molding and finishing (45.5-83.3\%). In conclusion exposure control may be needed to be in compliance with the ACGIH TLV and other guidance levels. Also, with regard to PCM limitations for airborne fiber analysis, the use of microscopic methods other than PCM can be used to improve the techniques used presently. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. This article was published in Regul Toxicol Pharmacol and referenced in Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology

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