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Generation of respirable quartz dust from masonry sawing.

Linch K; Miller W
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2001 Jun; :49
A lack of information about the amount of quartz dust generated from sawing masonry makes it difficult for masonry contractors to determine if a silicosis hazard exists at their work-sites and what level of dust control or personal protection is needed. Estimating concentrations during all possible worksite conditions is unrealistic. The approach taken here was to determine the generation rate of respirable dust and quartz from four samples of typical masonry sawn using two types of commonly used masonry saws. Each type of masonry was sawn during eight sampling runs under controlled conditions in a 700 ft3 dust chamber. During each run, four area sampling stations were used and a total of 16 respirable dust samples were obtained. The four samples of masonry used were: concrete blocks, common face bricks, fire bricks, and concrete paver bricks. The two saws used were a table saw using water on the blade and a hand-held chop-saw used without water being applied to the blade or dust collection. Using the chop-saw without dust control, the mean generation rate of respirable quartz: for the concrete blocks was 570 mg/min (540 - 590 mg/min, 95% C.l.); for the concrete paver bricks was 670 mg/min (650 - 710 mg/min, 95% C.l.); for the common face brick was 450 mg/min (410 - 470, 95% C.l.). Insufficient dust was collected to allow quartz results above the limit of quantification for the fire brick samples; however, the respirable dust generation rate was 2400 mg/min (2200 - 2500 mg/min, 95% C.l.) which contained approximately six percent quartz. Concrete blocks were used to compare dust generation rates between the two saws and indicated that 270 times more respirable dust was generated when using the hand-held chop saw versus the stationary saw using water on the blade. This data indicates that using the typical gasoline powered masonry chop-saw without dust control potentially generates unacceptable amounts of respirable quartz.
Quartz dust; Dusts; Dust particles; Masons; Silicosis; Hazards; Workers; Work environment; Work areas; Personal protective equipment; Personal protection; Respirable dust; Respiration; Respiratory protective equipment; Respiratory system disorders; Respiratory irritants; Dust sampling
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana
Page last reviewed: July 9, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division