Table 4

Workplace measurements when available and relevant for assessment of exposure to irritant factors

Workplace or processSpecific work process with high level of exposureSubstance measuredMean air concentration in ppm if not given otherwise (% of 8h-OEL)*Maximum air concentration in ppm if not given otherwise (% of 8h-OEL)*
Piggery ISludge handling, piglet department and open shedAmmonia (NH3)6.6 (33)37 (187)
H2SNA4 (80)
Endotoxins9500 EU/m3 (10 500)NA
Piggery IIFarrowing department, sludge handling and open shedAmmonia (NH3)1.1–16 mg/m3 (9–114)NA
H2S>2.5 (50)14 (280)
CowshedCleaning and emptying sludge pipe and basinAmmonia (NH3)10–20 (50–100)214 (>000)
H2S5 (100)20 (400)
Poultry rearing houseInspection and occupational hygiene measurementAmmonia (NH3)60–80 (300–400)NA
Meat packingPacking chicken meat and cleaning packing lineAmmonia (NH3)†10–150 (50–750)260 (1300)
Pudding productionLong-lasting and repeated high exposure in normal workHydrogen peroxide (H2O2)†1.1 (110)4.4 (440)
Potato flour factoryWashing potatosEndotoxins1900 EU/m3 (2100)NA
Foodstuff productionHandling maltEndotoxins25 000 EU/m3 (28 000)NA
ElectroplatingHigh exposure to acid fumes and nickel especially during night shifts when air conditioning switched offNickel in air (Ni)0.095 mg/m3 (950)NA
Nickel in urine (biomonitoring)U-Ni 2,2 mmol/L (170)NA
Hot-zinc coating plantWork near acid baths and hot zinc-coating fumesHydrochloric acid0.78–6.4 mg/m3 (10–84)‡NA
Formaldehyde (CH2O)0.324 (108)NA
Metal production plantWorking near wet precipitation processes utilising hydrogen sulfide (H2S)

H2S†
repeatedly >10 (200)NA
Copper and nickel smelters (abroad)Maintenance campaigns in several old-fashioned copper and nickel smelters abroadSulfur dioxide (SO2)†NA40–120 (800–2400)
Metal mineWorking above precipitation tank where H2S gas was bubbled through metal solutionsH2S†NAweekly >20 (>400)
Loading of calcium oxide powderDust (alkaline)>30 mg/m3 (>300)NA
Chemical plantProcess work in different stages of sulfuric acid productionSulfur dioxide (SO2)0.6–2.98 mg/m3 (46–230)1.5–13.4 mg/m3 (115–1040)
Fertiliser plantCleaning of process blockages with high-pressure cleaner and chipping hammerHydrofluoric acid0.45–8.7 mg/m3 (30–580)NA
Phosphoric acid0.14–0.51 mg/m3 (14–51)NA
H2SO40.034–0.068 mg/m3 (68–136)NA
Chemical plantPacking titanium dioxide powder coated with sulfuric acid (H2SO4)Dust (acidic)16.9 mg/m3 (169)71.8 mg/m3 (718)
Bioethanol plant3 days period cleaning large area of biomass and contaminated insulationEndotoxins0.26–340 EU/m3NA
Pulp mill IHandling process disturbances at pulp digester and bleaching unitHydrogen sulfide (H2S)†Daily >5 (>100)NA
ClO2Daily >0.1 (>100)0.93 (930)
Pulp mill I, outsideHandling wood chip raw material outside and in a storage tunnelH2S†7 (140)NA
Pulp mill IIProcess leak of chlorodioxide (ClO2) solution to an open channel on the floorClO20.69 (690)NA
Power plant IAccidents such as collapse of 150–300-ton silo when loading ashDust (alkaline)3.4 mg/m3 (34)NA
Power plant IIOpening wood chip tanks in connection with process disturbancesEndotoxins1500 EU/m3 (1700)NA
Tunnel constructionConcentration of diesel exhaust from tunnel cleaning machine due to ventilation being switched offNitrogen oxides†>100 (400)§NA
Thermal preservation of woodPeriod with technical problems due to which wool piles had to be moved by hand into drying ovenCH2O0.03–0.19 mg/m3 (8-51)0.56 mg/m3 (150)
Acetic acid (CH3COOH)0.91–7.15 mg/m3 (7–55)NA
Formic acid (HCOOH)0.4–1.2 mg/m3 (8–24)NA
Terpenes (wood VOC)4.2 ̶ 21 mg/m3 (3–15)218 mg/m3 (156)
Veneer log processing with chemicalsWorking in log incubator plantH2S†NA20–60 (400–1200)
Processing PVC- fabricsHeat seaming of large PVC-impregnated fabrics, air conditioning problemsTotal VOC3–5 mg/m36.5 mg/m3
  • Some measurements conducted by trained occupational hygienist and some by respective company’s own follow-up.

  • *Finnish OEL and if not set, other relevant European OEL.

  • †Measurements company’s own follow-up by online gas detectors etc.

  • ‡Only short-term (15 min) OEL set.

  • §Company-defined exposure limit for total oxides of nitrogen was 25 mg/m3.

  • EU, endotoxin unit; NA, not available; OEL, occupational exposure limit; PVC, polyvinyl chloride; VOC, volatile organic compounds.