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Analytical instrument performance criteria: occupational monitoring of particulate diesel exhaust by NIOSH method 5040.

Birch ME
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 2002 Jun; 17(6):400-405
NMAM 5040 is a particulate carbon method based on a thermal-optical analysis technique. The method was evaluated and published as a method for monitoring occupational exposures to particulate diesel exhaust, but it is applicable to particulate carbon aerosols in general, and has been routinely used in both occupational and environmental settings. Both organic and elemental carbon are determined, but EC is a more selective measure of workplace diesel exposure. In previous studies, good agreement between TC results obtained by different methods has been achieved, but the OC-EC results for different methods have been quite variable. Although a reference material is not currently available to test the accuracy of different methods, previous studies indicate that purely thermal methods are subject to positive bias from organic materials that char. Charring and inadequate removal of refractory OC components during the nonoxidative mode (typically 550 degrees C in nitrogen) likely explain the positive bias of thermal methods, as well as the large variability across methods. These interferences may be negligible in some cases (e.g., samples from mines), but they present significant biases in others (e.g., urban air samples, samples containing wood or cigarette smokes). Good interlaboratory agreement was obtained in a round robin comparison between six laboratories that used NMAM 5040, which was not the case with purely thermal methods. Good agreement has also been seen in smaller-scale comparisons conducted for quality assurance purposes. Until a suitable reference material becomes available, such comparisons are recommended as part of a laboratory's QA procedures. At present, five commercial laboratories (4 in the United States and 1 in Canada) perform the 5040 analysis, and over 40 instruments are in use globally for environmental and occupational monitoring.
Monitoring-systems; Particulate-dust; Particulates; Diesel-exhausts; Exposure-levels; Occupational-exposure; Carcinogens; Airborne-particles
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH 45226-1998, USA
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Ashley K
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches: Exposure Assessment Methods
Source Name
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division