Exposure to fine airborne fibrous dust amongst processors of para-aramid

John W. Cherrie, Harry Gibson, Carol McIntosh, William M. Maclaren, Gordon Lynch

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Laboratory studies with animals exposed to high concentrations of fine fibrous dust (fibrils) derived from para-aramid fibres suggest that it may cause lung damage. Based on the information from such studies there is an initiative in the U.K. to regulate workplace exposure. Para-aramid fibres are used in textiles, friction products, composite materials and other applications, but little is known about the extent or intensity of fibre dust exposure during these manufacturing operations. A survey has been undertaken in a selection of manufacturers of para-aramid containing products to assess their 8-h time-weighted average exposure to respirable fibrils. Concentrations were measured using the membrane filter technique with analysis by phase-contrast microscopy. Measurements of airborne fibril size were also made by scanning electron microscopy. Geometric mean concentrations for different jobs were generally low, ranging from 0.005 to 0.4 fibres ml-1. Assuming a log-normal distribution, less than 1% of the exposure levels would be expected to exceed 0.5 fibres ml-1 and about 0.002% would be above 2 fibres ml-1. Analysis of a selection of samples by fluorescence microscopy suggests that most of the fibrils in the majority of sites surveyed were para-aramid. At some sites a significant proportion of asbestos fibres were also found.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAnnals of Occupational Hygiene
    Volume39
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 1995

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Health Professions(all)
    • Toxicology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health

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