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NIOSH Program Portfolio

 

Construction

NORA Construction Sector Strategic Goals

927001P - Exposure Assessment by Physiological Sampling

Start Date: 10/1/2004
End Date: 9/30/2009

Principal Investigator (PI)
Name: Emily Lee
Phone: 304-285-6146
Organization: NIOSH
Sub-Unit: HELD
Funded By: NIOSH

Primary Goal Addressed
None

Secondary Goal Addressed
None

Attributed to Construction
50%

Project Description

Short Summary

Workers inhale gas phase chemical mixtures from solvents, process chemicals, and emissions from manufacturing operations. Accurately determining worker exposure in a noninvasive way is a challenge. Traditional methods using fixed-flow samplers may not record worker’s true exposures to chemicals. The newly developed physiologic pumps alter their sampling rate in accordance with the worker’s breathing rate to provide a more accurate measurement. However, both methodologies are surrogates for a worker’s actual exposure. Exposure measurements will be collected by using traditional pump and physiological pump sampling, and compared with direct readings from a real-time instrument. The results of this project can be used to develop a new workplace exposure assessment method and strategy.



Description

Workers inhale gas phase chemical mixtures from solvents, process chemicals, and emissions from manufacturing operations. Accurately determining worker exposure in a noninvasive way is a challenge. Traditional methods using fixed-flow samplers may not record worker’s true exposures to chemicals. The newly developed physiologic pumps alter their sampling rate in accordance with the worker’s breathing rate to provide a more accurate measurement. However, both methodologies are surrogates for a worker’s actual exposure. Exposure measurements will be collected by using traditional pump and physiological pump sampling, and compared with direct readings from a real-time instrument. The results of this project can be used to develop a new workplace exposure assessment method and strategy.It has been recognized that a worker’s breathing rate changes with exertion. Thus, traditional pumped sampling of workplace atmospheres potentially may under- or over-represent actual worker exposure. This discrepancy may be due to a poor correlation in time between worker inhalations and the constant flow collection of the traditional sampling pump. The goal of this research is to resolve this discrepancy by determining whether a physiologically-based sampling pump correlates better with direct readings from a real-time instrument than does with a traditional sampling pump. The newly developed physiologic sampling pumps alter the sampling rate based on changes in work-rate. This goal will be accomplished by achieving four specific aims.

Aim 1. Evaluation of the Lifeshirt system

Evaluation of the LifeShirt system will be conducted in the laboratories of Drs. Groves and Freivalds at Penn State University (PSU) to determine the capabilities of the LifeShirt, as providing inputs for a physiologic based pump. It is anticipated that 6-10 subjects will be recruited to perform a range of activities spanning work rates representative of those encountered in the construction industry.

Aim 2. Development of physiologic sampling pump (PSP), and

Aim 3. Identification and testing of the best output from the LifeShirt to physiologically control the flow rate of air sampling pump

Initially, three traditional sampling pumps (TSPs), the Gilian Gilair-5, the Buck Basic-5, and the SKC Pocket pump, will be evaluated to determine if a TSP can be modified to serve as PSP. If modification of traditional pump requires great efforts and high cost, a new PSP equipped with a sophisticated digital controller will be designed by a computer/electronics engineer in our team. Expertise in circuitry and software design developed in the Local Positioning System project will be incorporated into the development of the physiologic sampling pump. After completing the PSP design, it is expected that algorithms correlating the physiologic pump with human breathing rates will be tested.

Aim 4. Characterization of workers’ exposure using TSP and PSP, and comparison these results with readings of a real-time instrument

The correlation between the current and alternate sampling methods will be examined via laboratory and field evaluations to access worker exposure to vapor-phase organic chemicals. About 20-30 human subjects for the laboratory evaluation and 8-10 subjects for the field evaluation will be involved. Results from these tests will be compared with results from a real-time instrument’s readings to determine whether the physiologic pump correlates better with direct readings of the real-time instrument than the traditional pump does. If so, pump manufacturers will be contacted for commercial hand-off.



Objectives

The objective is to develop a physiologic sampling pump and to examine the correlation between current and alternate sampling methods to assess worker exposure to vapor- phase organic chemicals in workplaces. This project will be successfully accomplished by performing three phases: Phase I – Evaluation of the LifeShirt system and development of physiologic sampling pump; Phase II – Laboratory evaluation; and Phase III – Field evaluation.



Page last updated:April 24, 2013
Page last reviewed:May 23, 2011
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Office of the Director

 

NIOSH Program:

Construction

construction worker, crane, architect