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Sleeuwenhoek A.,Institute of Occupational Medicine Research | Cherrie J.W.,Institute of Occupational Medicine Research
Journal of Environmental Monitoring | Year: 2012

Objectives: To develop a method to reconstruct exposure to tetrafluoroethylene (TFE) and ammonium perfluorooctanoate (APFO) in plants producing polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) in the absence of suitable objective measurements. These data were used to inform an epidemiological study being carried out to investigate possible risks in workers employed in the manufacture of PTFE and to study trends in exposure over time. Methods: For each plant, detailed descriptions of all occupational titles, including tasks and changes over time, were obtained during semi-structured interviews with key plant personnel. A semi-quantitative assessment method was used to assess inhalation exposure to TFE and inhalation plus dermal exposure to APFO. Temporal trends in exposure to TFE and APFO were investigated. Results: In each plant the highest exposures for both TFE and APFO occurred in the polymerisation area. Due to the introduction of control measures, increasing process automation and other improvements, exposures generally decreased over time. In the polymerisation area, the annual decline in exposure to TFE varied by plant from 3.8 to 5.7% and for APFO from 2.2 to 5.5%. Conclusions: A simple method for assessing exposure was developed which used detailed process information and job descriptions to estimate average annual TFE and APFO exposure on an arbitrary semi-quantitative scale. These semi-quantitative estimates are sufficient to identify relative differences in exposure for the epidemiological study and should good data become available, they could be used to provide quantitative estimates for all plants across the whole period of operation. © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Ng M.G.,Institute of Occupational Medicine Research | Ng M.G.,University of Aberdeen | De Poot S.,Institute of Occupational Medicine Research | De Poot S.,Radbout University Nijmegen Medical Center | And 6 more authors.
Environmental Sciences: Processes and Impacts | Year: 2014

Several methods exist to estimate dermal exposure and it is unclear how comparable they are. These methods fall into three main categories: (i) removal techniques (such as wiping or rinsing); (ii) interception techniques (such as gloves, patches, or coveralls); and (iii) fluorescent tracer techniques. Controlled experiments were conducted to compare two removal methods for exposure to particulate, and a removal method with an interception method for exposure to liquids. Volunteers' hands were exposed to three liquid solutions (glycerol-water solutions of different concentrations) and three particulates (Epsom salts, calcium acetate and zinc oxide) in simulated exposure scenarios. Both hands were exposed and a different sampling method was used on each to allow comparison of methods. Cotton glove samplers and a cotton wipe sampling method were compared for exposure to liquids. For exposure to powders a cotton wipe sampling method was compared to rinsing the hands in deionised water. Wipe and rinse methods generally yielded similar results for Epsom salts and zinc oxide (geometric mean [GM] ratios of wipe-to-rinse measurements of 0.6 and 1.4, respectively) but they did not for calcium acetate (GM wipe-to-rinse ratio of 4.6). For glycerol solutions measurements from the glove samplers were consistently higher than wipe samples. At lower levels of exposure the relative difference between the two methods was greater than at higher levels. At a hand loading level of 24000 μg cm-2 (as measured by wiping) the glove-to-wipe ratio was 1.4 and at a hand loading of 0.09 μg cm-2 the ratio was 42.0. Wipe and rinse methods may be directly comparable but the relationship between glove and wipe sampling methods appears to be complex. Further research is necessary to enable conversion of exposure measurements from one metric to another, so as to facilitate more reliable risk assessment. © 2014 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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