alexa Occupational hygiene in terms of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and bioaerosols at two solid waste management plants in Finland.
Environmental Sciences

Environmental Sciences

International Journal of Waste Resources

Author(s): Lehtinen J, Tolvanen O, Nivukoski U, Veijanen A, Hnninen K

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Abstract Factors affecting occupational hygiene were measured at the solid waste transferring plant at Hyvinkää and at the optic separation plant in Hämeenlinna. Measurements consisted of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and bioaerosols including microbes, dust and endotoxins. The most abundant compounds in both of the plants were aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, esters of carboxylic acids, ketones and terpenes. In terms of odour generation, the most important emissions were acetic acid, 2,3-butanedione, ethyl acetate, alpha-pinene and limonene due to their low threshold odour concentrations. At the optic waste separation plant, limonene occurred at the highest concentration of all single compounds of identified VOCs. The concentration of any single volatile organic compound did not exceed the occupational exposure limit (OEL) concentration. However, 2,3-butanedione as a health risk compound is discussed based on recent scientific findings linking it to lung disease. Microbe and dust concentrations were low at the waste transferring plant. Only endotoxin concentrations may cause health problems; the average concentration inside the plant was 425 EU/m(3) which clearly exceeded the threshold value of 90 EU/m(3). In the wheel loader cabin the endotoxin concentrations were below 1 EU/m(3). High microbial and endotoxin concentrations were measured in the processing hall at the optic waste separation plant. The average concentration of endotoxins was found to be 10,980 EU/m(3), a concentration which may cause health risks. Concentrations of viable fungi were quite high in few measurements in the control room. The most problematic factor was endotoxins whose average measured concentrations was 4853 EU/m(3). Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This article was published in Waste Manag and referenced in International Journal of Waste Resources

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