Exposure to Wood Dust, Resin Acids, and Volatile Organic Compounds During Production of Wood Pellets
2008 (English)In: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, ISSN 1545-9624, E-ISSN 1545-9632, Vol. 5, 296-304 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The main aim of this study was to investigate exposure to airborne substances that are potentially harmful to health during the production of wood pellets, including wood dust, monoterpenes, and resin acids, and as an indicator of diesel exhaust nitrogen dioxide. In addition, area measurements were taken to assess background exposure levels of these substances, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and carbon monoxide. Measurements were taken at four wood pellet production plants from May 2004 to April 2005. Forty-four workers participated in the study, and a total of 68 personal measurements were taken to determine personal exposure to wood dust (inhalable and total dust), resin acids, monoterpenes, and nitrogen dioxide. In addition, 42 measurements of nitrogen dioxide and 71 measurements of total dust, resin acids, monoterpenes, VOCs, and carbon monoxide were taken to quantify their indoor area concentrations. Personal exposure levels to wood dust were high, and a third of the measured levels of inhalable dust exceeded the Swedish occupational exposure limit (OEL) of 2 mg/m 3 . Parallel measurements of inhalable and total dust indicated that the former were, on average, 3.2 times higher than the latter. The data indicate that workers at the plants are exposed to significant amounts of the resin acid 7-oxodehydroabietic acid in the air, an observation that has not been recorded previously at wood processing and handling plants. The study also found evidence of exposure to dehydroabietic acid, and exposure levels for resin acids approached 74% of the British OEL for colophony, set at 50 μg/m 3 . Personal exposure levels to monoterpenes and nitrogen dioxide were low. Area sampling measurements indicated that aldehydes and terpenes were the most abundant VOCs, suggesting that measuring personal exposure to aldehydes might be of interest. Carbon monoxide levels were under the detection limit in all area measurements. High wood dust exposure levels are likely to have implications for worker health; therefore, it is important to reduce exposure to wood dust in this industry.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 5, 296-304 p.
Analytical Chemistry Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-74451DOI: 10.1080/15459620801957225OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-74451DiVA: diva2:509357