OBJECTIVES--This paper describes a study that was carried out in the primary nickel production industry to investigate the levels of personal exposure to aerosols containing nickel and the impact on exposure assessment of introducing new personal sampling techniques with performance consistent with the latest particle size-selective criteria. METHODS--Experiments were carried out at workplaces in mining, milling, smelting, and refining works to investigate the effect of changing from the current method of total aerosol (with the widely used 37 mm filter holder) to the new method of measuring inhalable aerosol (with the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) inhalable aerosol sampler). RESULTS--The results show that inhalable aerosol exposure concentrations--for both overall aerosol and for total nickel--were consistently and significantly higher than the corresponding total aerosol concentrations. Weighted least squares linear regression yielded IOM/37 mm factors ranging from about 1.2 to 4.0. The exposure data for each company process were found to be log-normally distributed. CONCLUSIONS--The results suggest the possibility of generating a single pragmatic factor for each company process for converting current total aerosol exposures to new exposures based on the inhalability concept contained in the latest particle size-selective criteria for aerosol exposure assessment. Such data may be important in determining new occupational exposure limits for nickel.
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