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Exposure to particulate matter on an Indian stone crushing site
  1. Sean Semple (sean.semple{at}abdn.ac.uk)
  1. University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
    1. David Green (david.hafiz{at}ic.ac.uk)
    1. West Middlesex University Hospital, United Kingdom
      1. Graeme McAlpine (graememcalpine{at}yahoo.co.uk)
      1. University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
        1. Hilary Cowie (hilary.cowie{at}iom-world.org)
        1. Institute of Occupational Medicine, United Kingdom
          1. Anthony Seaton (a.seaton{at}abdn.ac.uk)
          1. University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom

            Abstract

            Objectives: A large number of laborers work in the stone crushing industry in India. Many of these workers are also exposed to high levels of particulate matter in their homes from the use of biomass fuels. As part of our investigations to examine the health of these workers we characterized their exposure to respirable crystalline silica and a number of other particulate matter exposure metrics in both occupational and domestic settings. Methods: We used a combination of direct reading and gravimetric sampling of respirable dust, total inhalable dust and particulate matter < 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) at work (n=19), within the general environment (n=6) and inside the home (n=7). We used X-ray diffraction to quantify the level of crystalline silica in the respirable dust samples. Results: After correcting for the length of the working week, the arithmetic mean 8h time-weighted average (TWA) total inhalable dust exposure for this group was 143 mg/m3, the mean 8h TWA respirable dust exposure was 39.7 mg/m3, and the 8h TWA crystalline silica exposure was 2.29 mg/m3. Our real-time data showed peaks in exposure under certain environmental and/or working conditions. General environmental and domestic PM2.5 exposures were also high. Conclusions: Particulate matter exposures experienced by this group of workers and their families are likely to produce impaired lung function within a short time-frame. There is a need to introduce simple measures to reduce particulate matter exposure from both occupational sources and the use of biomass fuels in homes on this and similar sites.

            • Biomass fuels
            • Exposure assessment
            • Particulate matter
            • Respirable silica
            • Stone crushing

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