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A comparison of x-ray fluorescence and wet chemical analysis for lead on air filters from different personal samplers used in a bronze foundry.

Harper M; Pacolay B; Andrew ME
J Environ Monit 2005 May; 7(6):592-597
Portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF) technology may provide faster turn-around without compromising accuracy when assessing personal exposures to metals such as lead, but it has only been tested in limited field environments. This study is part of a series, where different sampler types are used to collect airborne lead in different environments for presentation to a portable XRF analyzer. In this case personal samples were taken at a bronze foundry where lead is added to an alloy of copper, zinc and iron to improve casting, using the closed-face 37 mm cassette, the 37 mm GSP or "cone" sampler, the 25 mm Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) inhalable sampler, the 25 mm Button sampler, and the open-face 25 mm cassette. Mixed cellulose-ester filters were used in all samplers. Following XRF analysis the samples were extracted with acid and analyzed by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP). For lead, all five samplers gave correlations (r 2) greater than 0.9 between the two analytical methods over the entire range of found lead mass, which encompassed both the action level and the permissible exposure limit enforced in the USA by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). However, a correction was required to adjust linear regression trendlines to give a 1 : 1 correlation for the average of three readings across the GSP sampler, and a similar correction was required for the single readings from the IOM sampler and the 25 mm filter cassette. The bias possibly is due to interference from other metals, possibly copper which can absorb the fluorescent radiation of lead. In the case of the Button sampler, the bias is larger, indicating a further source of error, perhaps due to the thickness of the deposit. However, in all cases, correction of the lead results did not greatly affect the overall percentage of samples where the XRF result was within 25% of the ICP result, although it did improve the overall accuracy of the results. The GSP, IOM and Button samplers are suitable candidates for further evaluation as compatible with on-site XRF analysis for lead and other metals. It is important to check carefully factory pre-set instrument calibrations, as a bias in the calibration for copper was observed.
X-ray-fluorescence-analysis; X-ray-analysis; Chemical-analysis; Lead-compounds; Air-filters; Foundries; Exposure-levels; Metals; Metal-compounds; Sampling-methods; Airborne-particles; Samplers; Exposure-limits
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
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NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches: Exposure Assessment Methods
Source Name
Journal of Environmental Monitoring
Page last reviewed: December 23, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division