High flow rate samplers, respirable crystalline silica, silica, quartz
Restoration stone work regularly involves work with high-silica-content materials (e.g., sandstone), but low-silica-content materials (<2 % quartz) such as limestone and lime mortar are also used. A combination of short sample duration and low silica content makes the quantification of worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) difficult. This problem will be further compounded by the introduction of lower occupational exposure standards for RCS. The objective of this work was to determine whether higher-flow samplers might be an effective tool in characterizing lower RCS concentrations. A short study was performed to evaluate the performance of three high-flow samplers (FSP10, CIP10-R, and GK2.69) using side-by-side sampling with low-flow samplers (SIMPEDS and 10-mm nylon cyclones) for RCS exposure measurement at a restoration stonemasonry field site. A total of 19 side-by-side sample replicates for each high-flow and low-flow sampler pair were collected from work tasks involving limestone and sandstone. RESULTS. Most of the RCS (quartz) masses collected with the high-flow-rate samplers were above the limit of detection (62 % to 84 %) relative to the low-flow-rate samplers (58 % to 78 %). The average of the respirable mass concentration ratios for CIP10-R/SIMPEDS, GK2.69/10-mm nylon, FSP10/SIMPEDS, and FSP10/10-mm nylon pairs and the range of the quartz concentration ratios for the CIP10-R/SIMPEDS, CIP10-R/10-mm nylon, GK2.69/10-mm nylon, FSP10/SIMPEDS, and FSP10/10-mm nylon pairs included unity with an average close to unity, indicating no likely difference between the reported values for each sampler. Workers reported problems related to the weight of the sampling pumps for the high-flow-rate samplers. Respirable mass concentration data suggest that the high-flow-rate samplers evaluated would be appropriate for sampling respirable dust concentrations during restoration stone work. Results from the comparison of average quartz concentration ratios between high- and low-flow samplers suggest that the higher mass collected by the high-flow-rate samplers did not interfere with the quartz measurement. A significant portion of the data collected with the high-flow-rate samplers (>82 %) were greater than the limit of detection, which indicates that these samplers are suitable for quantifying exposures, even with low-quartz materials.