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Ehrlich C.,Saxony Anhalt State Environmental Protection Agency | Noll G.,Saxony Anhalt State Environmental Protection Agency | Wusterhausen E.,Saxony Anhalt State Environmental Protection Agency | Kalkoff W.-D.,Saxony Anhalt State Environmental Protection Agency | And 2 more authors.
Atmospheric Environment | Year: 2013

Numerous research articles dealing with Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) in occupational health because epidemiological studies reveal an association between RCS-dust and the development of silicosis as well as an increased probability of developing lung cancer. Research activities about RCS in ambient air are known from US-measurements. However there is a lack of knowledge regarding RCS-emissions in several industrial sectors. Industrial sources of crystalline silica include construction, foundries, glass manufacturing, abrasive blasting or any industrial or commercial use of silica sand, and mining and rock crushing operations. This paper describes a RCS-emission measurement method for stack gases and report results from the German RCS-emission measurement programmes which were used to identify installations and types of industries with the highest concentration levels of RCS in stack gases. A two-stage cascade impactor was used for the measurements which separate particles into the following size fractions: >10 μm, 10-4 μm und <4 μm of aerodynamic diameter. The measurements were carried out according to international sampling standards. The size of crystalline silica particles of most concern are those respirable particles that are smaller than four microns (millionths of a metre), also called particulate matter 4 (PM4). The analytical procedure of determining crystalline silica in emission samples (in the fraction below 4 μm) consists of using x-ray diffraction and infrared spectroscopy methods which are the same methods as used in the field of occupational health. A total of 37 emission measurement campaigns were assessed (112 RCS-samples in nine industrial sectors). The investigated plants are located in different German states such as Bavaria, North Rhine Westphalia, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt. The results of the measurements show that most of the investigated plants can achieve compliance with the newly developed German emission limit value (ELV) of 1 mg m-3. The ELV is expressed as the concentration of RCS in stack emissions. According to the German emission minimising principle and the precautionary principle it is assumed that by complying with the RCS-ELV there is no ambient air health risk for people living these plants. In the case of increased total dust concentration in the stack gas (more than 20 mg m-3) combined with increased percentage of crystalline silica in PM4 dust, a violation of the above mentioned ELV is more likely. This applies mostly to installations in the silica sand processing industry. To comply with the ELV of 1 mg m-3, efficient emission control technology should be implemented and should be well maintained. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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