Environmental agricultural tractor cab filter efficiency and field evaluation.
Heitbrink-WA; Moyer-ES; Jensen-PA; Watkins-DS; Martin-SB
Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 2003 May/Jun; 64(3):394-400
To evaluate filter efficiency and performance of environmental enclosures for tractors, 3- to 4-year-old tractor enclosure combinations (cabs retrofitted to tractors after manufacturing) were studied at a custom pesticide applicators facility. Optical particle counters were used to measure the aerosol number concentration inside and outside the cab. The ratio of these concentrations multiplied by 100 is termed percentage penetration, the amount of the aerosol that penetrates into the enclosure. For particles in the 0.3 to 0.4 microm range, penetration into the cab was reduced from 11 to 0.4% in the following sequential steps. First, manufacturing mistakes were corrected by fixing a bowed flange and inappropriate sealing of the sheet metal used to separate incoming air from air that had passed through the filter. This reduced aerosol penetration from 11 to 4.8%. Replacing gasket material on the used filter reduced penetration from 4.8 to 0.65%. This suggests that the filter gaskets are deforming and allowing leakage. Also, the filter media were evaluated for aerosol penetration as a function of particle size and were tested per the criteria stipulated in 42 CFR 84 for negative pressure air-purifying particulate respirators. These results showed penetration through the filter media of less than 0.03%, indicating that filter media were not a major source of aerosol leakage into the cab. The results suggest that the manufacturer should implement a quality control program to ensure that minimal aerosol penetration criteria into the cabs are met and an acceptable maintenance program exists to ensure compliance. Furthermore, the degradation of filter gasket material over time needs to be minimized to ensure that the environmental cabs continue to provide acceptable performance.
Filters; Tractors; Optical-analysis; Aerosol-sampling; Aerosol-particles; Aerosols; Leak-prevention; Quality-control; Agricultural-machinery; Particle-counters; Particle-aerodynamics; Equipment-design; Filter-materials; Air-purifying-respirators; Performance-capability;
Author Keywords: agricultural workers; environmental enclosure; filters; tractors
Ernest S. Moyer, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, Laboratory Research Branch, Mail Stop H2800.4, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505
Research Tools and Approaches: Control Technology and Personal Protective Equipment
American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal