Test for the integrity of environmental tractor cab filtration systems.
Moyer-ES; Heitbrink-WA; Jensen-PA
J Occup Environ Hyg 2005 Oct; 2(10):516-523
Cab filtration systems can be used to protect vehicle operators from hazardous air contaminants. In a cab filtration system, a fan draws air through filters and pressurizes the cab with this filtered air. This article describes the application of a low-cost, optical particle counter to evaluate the performance of tractor cab filtration systems. The tractors were equipped with environmental enclosures to protect the operators from pesticide exposures that occur during air blast spraying in orchards. Prior to testing, all environmental tractor cabs underwent a complete maintenance overhaul followed by a careful inspection by the manufacturer's field representative. As part of this maintenance effort, 13 tractors with cab filtration systems were tested in an enclosure. A Met One model 227B two-channel optical particle counter was used to measure the aerosol concentration outside and inside the cab. Ambient aerosol and/or aerosol generated by burning incense sticks were used to challenge the stationary cab filtration system in an enclosure. The ratio of the outside to inside concentration (Co/Ci) is the exposure reduction attained by the cab system. Alternatively, the inside concentration divided by the outside concentration times 100 (Ci/Co x 100) gives the percent penetration. All 13 tractors were tested for leak sites. Leak sites were identified and sealed. This process was repeated until each cab showed an exposure reduction ratio Co/Ci of at least 50 (aerosol penetration into the cab Ci/Co x 100 was less than 2%) at the 0.3-0.5 microm particle size interval.
Tractors; Filtration; Air-contamination; Filters; Pesticides; Aerosols; Agricultural-chemicals; Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-machinery; Exposure-levels; Exposure-assessment; Agricultural-workers;
Author Keywords: agricultural workers; environmental enclosures; tractor cabs
Ernest S. Moyer, National Institute for Occupationa Safety and Health, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, Laboratory Research Branch, Mail Stop H2800, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505
Research Tools and Approaches: Control Technology and Personal Protective Equipment
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
University of Iowa