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Evaluation of a portable x-ray fluorescence instrument for the determination of lead in workplace air samples.

Morley-JC; Clark-CS; Deddens-JA; Ashley-K; Roda-S
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 1999 May; 14(5):306-316
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations for worker exposure to lead specify worker protection levels based upon airborne concentrations of lead dust. The rapid, on-site determination of lead in air filter samples using a portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF) instrument with an attachment to hold the filter would expedite the exposure assessment process and facilitate compliance with the OSHA standards. A total of 65 lead in air filter samples were collected at bridge blasting lead-abatement projects using closed-faced, 37-mm cassettes with pre-loaded 0.8 micron pore size mixed cellulose ester membrane filters. The lead loading range of the data set was 0.1-1514.6 micrograms (microg) of lead/sample. Samples were initially analyzed with a field portable XRF (NITONR700) using an experimental non-destructive XRF method. Samples were subsequently analyzed using National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Method 7105 (Graphite Furnace AA) as a reference analytical method. The paired data were not normally distributed; therefore, the non-parametric Wilcoxon signed rank test was used for statistical analysis. There was no statistically significant difference between data from the field portable XRF method and the NIOSH method (p-value=0.72). Linear regression of the data resulted in a slope of 0.959, a y-intercept of 5.20 microg, and an r2 of 0.985. The XRF limit of detection and limit of quantitation were determined to be 6.2 and 17 microg of lead/sample, respectively. The XRF method accuracy was +/-16.4% (7.1%-27%, 90% confidence interval). The data presented in this study indicate that fieldportable XRF can be used for the analysis of lead air filter samples over the range of 17 to 1500 microg of lead/sample. The practicing industrial hygienist can use field-portable XRF to produce a rapid, on-site determination of lead exposure that can immediately be communicated to workers and help identify appropriate levels of personal protection. As the method is non-destructive, samples can subsequently be sent to a laboratory for confirmation. Confirmation would be recommended when greater than 16.4 percent accuracy from an analytical method is required. This study provided data of suitable quality for the development of NIOSH Method 7702, "Lead by Field Portable XRF."
Air-quality; Air-quality-control; Air-quality-measurement; Air-quality-monitoring; Air-sampling-equipment; Air-sampling-techniques; Lead-absorption; Monitoring-systems; Lead-dust; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Exposure-methods; X-ray-fluorescence-analysis
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Journal Article
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NIOSH Division
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Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene