Mining Publication: A Comparison of Respirable Crystalline Silica Concentration Measurements Using a Direct-on-filter Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) Transmission Method vs. a Traditional Laboratory X-ray Diffraction Method

Original creation date: October 2018

Authors: JF Hart, DA Autenrieth, E Cauda, L Chubb, TM Spear, S Wock, S Rosenthal

Peer Reviewed Journal Article - January 2019

NIOSHTIC2 Number: 20051898

J Occup Environ Hyg 2018 Oct; 15(10):743-754

Evaluation and control of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) exposures are critical components of an effective mine industrial hygiene program. To provide more timely exposure data in the field, an end-of-shift Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectrometry method has been developed for evaluation of direct-on-filter RCS. The present study aimed to apply this FT-IR method using field samples collected in three Northwestern U.S. metal/nonmetal mines and compare the results to traditional laboratory X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD). Seventy-five dust samples were analyzed using both methods. Samples for each mine were split in half by random assignment, with half used to create a calibration factor for the FT-IR analysis and half used to apply the calibration. Nonparametric correlational and two-sample comparative tests were used to assess the strength of association and the level of agreement between the two methods. Strong, positive correlations were observed between FT-IR and XRD RCS concentrations, with Spearman rank correlation coefficients ranging between 0.84 and 0.97. The mean RCS concentrations determined through FT-IR analysis were lower than through XRD analysis, with mean differences ranging from —4 to —133 ug/m3 and mean percent errors ranging from 12% to 28%. There was a statistically significant improvement in the level of agreement between log FT-IR and log XRD RCS concentrations following calibration at two of the three mines, with mean differences of —0.03 (p = 0.002) and —0.02 (p = 0.044) in the log scale. The reduction in mean difference following calibration at the other mine was not statistically significant (mean log scale difference = —0.05, p = 0.215), but the differences between FT-IR and XRD were not significantly different without calibration (mean log scale difference = —0.07, p = 0.534). The results indicate that mine-specific calibration factors can improve the level of agreement between RCS concentrations determined via a field-based, end-of-shift FT-IR method in metal/non-metal mines as compared to traditional XRD analysis.

First page of A Comparison of Respirable Crystalline Silica Concentration Measurements Using a Direct-on-filter Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) Transmission Method versus a Traditional Laboratory X-ray Diffraction Method
Peer Reviewed Journal Article - January 2019

NIOSHTIC2 Number: 20051898

J Occup Environ Hyg 2018 Oct; 15(10):743-754


Page last reviewed: 1/17/2019 Page last updated: 1/17/2019