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A comparison of x-ray fluorescence and wet chemical analysis of air filter samples from a scrap lead smelting operation.

Harper M; HallmarkTS; Andrew ME; Bird AJ
J Environ Monit 2004 Oct; 6(10):819-826
Personal and area air samples were taken at a scrap lead smelter operation in a bullet manufacturing facility. Samples were taken using the 37-mm styrene-acrylonitrile closed-face filter cassette (CFC, the current US standard device for lead sampling), the 37-mm GSP or cone sampler, the 25-mm Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) inhalable sampler, and the 25-mm Button sampler (developed at the University of Cincinnati). Polyvinylchloride filters were used for sampling. The filters were pre- and post-weighed, and analyzed for lead content using a field-portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer. The filters were then extracted with dilute nitric acid in an ultrasonic extraction bath and the solutions were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy. The 25-mm filters were analyzed using a single XRF reading, while three readings on different parts of the filter were taken from the 37-mm filters. The single reading from the 25-mm filters was adjusted for the nominal area of the filter to obtain the mass loading, while the three readings from the 37-mm filters were inserted into two different algorithms for calculating the mass loadings, and the algorithms were compared. The IOM sampler was designed for material collected in the body of the sampler to be part of the collected sample as well as that on the filter. Therefore, the IOM sampler cassettes were rinsed separately to determine if wall-loss corrections were necessary. All four samplers gave very good correlations between the two analytical methods above the limit of detection of the XRF procedure. The limit of detection for the 25-mm filters (5 µg) was lower than for the 37-mm filters (10 µg). The percentage of XRF results that were within 25% of the corresponding ICP results was evaluated. In addition, the bias from linear regression was estimated. Linear regression for the Button sampler and the IOM sampler using single readings and the GSP using all tested techniques for total filter loading gave acceptable XRF readings at loadings equivalent to sampling at the OSHA 8-hour Action Level and Permissible Exposure Limit. However, the CFC only had acceptable results when the center reading corrected for filter area was used, which was surprising, and may be a result of a limited data set. In addition to linear regression, simple estimation of bias indicated reasonable agreements between XRF and ICP results for single XRF readings on the Button sampler filters, (82% of the individual results within criterion), and on the IOM sampler filters (77% or 61%-see text), and on the GSP sampler filters using the OSHA algorithm (78%). As a result of this pilot project, all three samplers were considered suitable for inclusion in further field research studies.
X-ray-analysis; X-ray-fluorescence-analysis; Chemical-analysis; Air-filters; Sampling; Lead-smelting; Smelting; Air-samples; Air-sampling; Metal-industry; Metal-compounds; Lead-compounds; Filters; Particulates; Samplers; Sampling-methods; Sampling-equipment
Exposure Assessment Branch, Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505, USA
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches: Exposure Assessment Methods
Source Name
Journal of Environmental Monitoring
Page last reviewed: May 6, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division