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Analysis of quartz by FT-IR in air samples of construction dust.

Virji MA; Bello D; Woskie SR; Liu XM; Kalil AJ
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 2002 Mar; 17(3):165-175
The construction industry is reported to have some of the highest exposures to silica-containing dust. With the designation of crystalline silica as a group 1 human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), there exists a need for an analytical method to accurately quantify low levels of quartz. A method is described that uses FT-IR for quartz analysis of personal air samples collected from heavy and highway construction sites using 4-stage personal impactors. Sample filters were ashed and 13-mm or 5-mm pellets were prepared. Absorbance spectra were collected using FT-IR at resolution of 1 cm-1 and 64 scans per spectrum. Two spectra were collected per sample using the appropriate background spectrum subtraction. Spectral manipulations such as Fourier self-deconvolution and derivatizations were performed to improve quantification. Peak height for quartz was measured at 798 cm-1 for quantitative analysis.The estimated limit of detection for the 5-mm pellets was 1.3 microg. Recoveries of Min-U-Sil 5 spikes showed an average of >/= 94 percent for the two pellet types. The coefficient of variation of the 5-mm pellet was 9 percent at 6 microg quartz load, and 7 percent at 62 microg load. Interferences from clay, amorphous silica, concrete, calcite, and kaolinite were investigated, these being the more likely sources of interferences in construction environment. Spikes of mixtures of amorphous silica or kaolinite with Min-U-Sil 5 showed both contaminants introduced, on average, a positive error of < 5 microg with average recoveries of 106 percent and 111 percent, respectively. Spikes of mixtures of clay or concrete with Min-U-Sil 5 showed overall average recovery of 100 percent and 90 percent, respectively, after accounting for the presence of quartz in clay and concrete. This method can quantify low levels of quartz with reasonable accuracy in the face of common contaminants found in the construction industry.
Construction; Construction-industry; Construction-materials; Construction-workers; Respirable-dust; Quartz-dust; Silica-dusts; Inhalants; Carcinogens; Humans; Particulate-sampling-methods; Particulate-dust; Exposure-assessment; Sampling-methods; Road-construction; Spectrographic-analysis; Cancer; Air-sampling; Airborne-dusts; Air-contamination; Environmental-pollution; Standards; Quality-standards; Quantitative-analysis; Analytical-instruments; Analytical-methods; Author Keywords: Analytical Method; Crystalline Silica; Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrophotometry (FTIR); Heavy and Highway Construction; Min-U-Sil 5; Personal Impactor; Quartz; Size Selective Sampling
M. Abbas Virji, Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Lowell, MA
14808-60-7; 7631-86-9; 471-34-1; 1318-74-7
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement; Construction
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Source Name
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Performing Organization
The Center to Protect Workers' Rights
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division