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workers, building, architect

NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals

927ZJLB - Chemical Exposure Monitor With Indoor Positioning (CEMWIP)

Start Date: 10/1/2009
End Date: 9/30/2013

Principal Investigator (PI)
Name: Kenneth Brown
Phone: 513-841-4364
Organization: NIOSH
Sub-Unit: DART
Funded By: NIOSH

Primary Goal Addressed

Secondary Goal Addressed


Attributed to Manufacturing


Project Description

Short Summary

The chemical exposure monitor with indoor positioning project (CEMWIP) is a new direct reading exposure method (DRM) that uses a personal chemical monitor with telemetry and an indoor positioning system to provide remote monitoring of a workers exposure to volatile organic chemicals (VOC)s in real time. The personal monitor continuously samples and analyzes the workers breathing zone air for VOCs while recording their position and time of exposure. A remote laptop calculates, visualizes, and records the worker's position, exposure level, and time data for analysis.

This project was funded through the NORA research grant process, fulfilling the DRM program�s research needs of 1) developing new or refined DRM methods �, 2) developing new r2p applications to quickly transition DRMs from research to real-world application including development of the business case for implementation, 3) partnering with other organizations to leverage time and funds, and 4) striving to make DRM technology as small and lightweight as possible for ease of use. This project also addresses high priority goals in the manufacturing sector and the exposure assessment, engineering control, and respiratory diseases cross sectors.

NIOSH CEMWIP conference presentations would contribute to corporate and academia DRM research. NIOSH CEMWIP scientific publications would also contribute to corporate and academia DRM research. The NIOSH CEMWIP prototype would be accepted by manufacturing for production and marketing. NIOSH releasing manufacturing rights to business would make the technology commercially available. NIOSH publications would promote and instruct the use of this now commercially available technology for exposure assessment ultimately reducing worker exposure to toxic chemicals.


The goal of this project is to develop a new direct reading method, the personal chemical exposure monitor with indoor positioning (CEMWIP). The CEMWIP will provide a worker with personal monitoring for toxic volatile organic compounds (VOC)s in a worker's breathing zone while wirelessly sending the data to a remote computer that plots exposure concentration, location, and time. This device will advance exposure intervention by providing real-time chemical vapor measurements both personally and remotely. Personal monitoring empowers workers by providing them with real-time exposure measurements for immediate response. Remote monitoring would advance engineering control research by linking work tasks with chemical vapor release and provide historical dose maps of the worker's exposure identifying work areas of high exposure. Remote monitoring would also protect an employee who is working alone by providing an external second-person warning alerts for intervention.

Indoor positioning is a new technology that is now available, but has not yet been applied as an exposure assessment tool. This project will couple this new indoor positioning technology to a commercially available personal chemical monitor for exposure assessment applications. The University of Cincinnati Chemistry Department has unique expertise in coupling chemical sensors with electronic data acquisition systems. In the first year of the project, collaboration with the University of Cincinnati developed through a research and development contract would evaluate and select an indoor positioning system and design the CEMWIP system. NIOSH will purchase the components of the system including an indoor positioning R&D kit, a ToxiRaeTM personal exposure monitor, laptop, wireless communication modems, and test stands. In the second year, the UC design would be used to assemble the CEMWIP system hardware and software in consultation with NIOSH. In the third year, the CEMWIP system will be evaluated in the NIOSH Ventilation Laboratory with the goal of optimizing the system�s electronics and software.

Year 1: Design the CEMWIP prototype.

An R&D contract, established with the University of Cincinnati, would be used to evaluate the currently available indoor positioning kits, decide on which one to apply to this project, purchase the kits and chemical sensor, and design the system. The R&D design work from the UC contract would be used as work descriptions for secondary competitively bid hardware and software development contracts used to assemble and debug the prototype. Some of the general tasks expected for making the prototype are to 1) modify the personal chemical sensor for telemetry 2) connect a positioning transmitter to the chemical sensor 3) develop wireless communication devices between the radio positioning receivers and to the remote computer, 4) evaluate the commercial positioning software for use in exposure assessment, and 5) modify software for archiving and analyzing the exposure data.

Year 2: Assemble the CEMWIP prototype.

Prototype assembly and development would start in year two. Assembly will include testing the functions of each component of the system including the ability of the telemetry to transmit data. The prototype will be tested using UWB receivers in the corners of the room. The goal is to be able to monitor, in real time, the worker's position and the level of exposure they are experiencing.

The software needs to be able to archive the data for later dose mapping analysis. So, during the second year the prototype will be assembled and evaluated for functionality.

Year 3: In-house evaluation of the CEMWIP prototype.

In year 3, The CEMWIP prototype would be �beta tested� for positioning accuracy and precision using position markers placed in the simulated workplace setup in NIOSH's Ventilation Laboratory. Dr. Shaw, statistician, would develop an experimental design for evaluating the three dimensional positioning of the stationary transceiver in the simulated workplace. Robert Voorhees and the software and hardware contractors would setup, demonstrate, evaluate, and modify the software and hardware. The in-house testing will provide system performance feedback to improve the method. Dr. Kenneth Mead would collaborate on the simulated facilities layout and the experimental design with engineering control ramifications in mind.

Mission Relevance

This project addresses many of the research priority needs of Direct-Reading Exposure Assessment Method Workshop plan both common to all DRMS and also specifically for gas and vapor DRMs. This CEMWIP project would�

1. Develop new DRM technology that meets sector specific and niche market needs.
2. Empower the worker through personal monitoring technology.
3. Be a new r2p application to quickly transition DRMs from research to real-world.
4. Partner with other organizations to leverage time and funds
5. Make DRM technology as small and lightweight as possible
6. Satisfy specific Gas and vapor DRMs research needs, because the CEMWIP technology would be
a) Simple, cheap, and provide high throughput data.
c) Multi-functional adding indoor positioning with chemical exposure monitoring
e) Applicable for unknown chemicals including chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals
g) Used for a handheld standoff chemical identifier DRM for first responders.
h) Capable of remote monitoring would be an integrated ensemble capable of breakthrough alert.

This project will directly address NIOSH�s goals in the 1) Manufacturing Sector, 2) Exposure Assessment Cross Sector, 3) Engineering Controls Cross Sector, 4) Respiratory Diseases Cross Sector, and 5) Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Cross Sector.

Specifically, Manufacturing Strategic Goals 5 (09PPMNFSG5) and 9 (09PPMNFSG9), Exposure Assessment Strategic Goals 1 (09PPEXASG1), Goal 2 (09PPEXASG2), Goal 2.7 (09PPEXAIG2.7), Again, this project addresses the research priority needs determined from the NIOSH Direct-Reading Exposure Assessment Method Workshop common to all DRMS Flavorings-Related Lung Disease can be prevented through intervention to exposure. One of the target outcomes of this proof of concept project is future projects that would apply this technology in field studies. Diacetyl is a prominent chemical ingredient in butter flavorings and is a component of the vapors coming from these and other flavorings. Inhalations of butter flavoring chemical mixtures, including diacetyl, have been associated with severe obstructive lung disease popularly known as "popcorn lung." This project would assess the exposure of inhalable toxic volatile organic compound, e.g. diacetyl, and thus if successful and applied would impact Respiratory Disease Cross Sector Intermediate Goal 1.3: Prevent and reduce flavorings-induced obstructive lung disease, including bronchiolitis obliterans.

While not listed as a NORA sector goal, NIOSH does have a Mixed Exposures Research Agenda. One of the top priorities of this Research Agenda was to develop and implement new surveillance methods to determine the number of workers exposed to specific mixtures, identify the range of exposure concentrations, and identify health effects associated with mixed exposures. The PID personal monitor is capable of monitoring mixed exposures, and has been revaluated by NIOSH as an in important tool for screening work environment. The technology would promote mixed exposures assessment research agenda