Determining exhaust fumes exposure in chainsaw operations

The objective of this study was to investigate the inhalation exposure of forest operators to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and total xylenes) contained in the exhaust fumes released from chainsaws and to suggest possible countermeasures. The study was carried out in four silvicultural treatments (coppice clear-cut, conifer thinning, conifer pruning, and sanitary cut), using three types of chainsaw fuel (normal two-stroke petrol mix and two alkylate fuels). Eighty personal air samples were collected; IOM samplers combined with Amberlite XAD-2 sorbent tubes were used for collecting PAHs and Radiello(®) samplers were used for BTEX. Results indicate that none of the four silvicultural treatments significantly affected the PAHs and BTEX inhalation exposure of forest workers. On the other hand, statistically significant differences were recorded in the inhalation exposure to PAHs and BTEX when using different fuel types. In particular, the inhalation exposure to PAHs and BTEX was generally one order of magnitude lower when using modern alkylate fuels as compared to the traditional oil and lead-free petrol mixture. The small, non-statistically significant differences in inhalation exposure recorded between the two alkylate fuels suggests that the two fuels might be equivalent in terms of quality. The authors concluded that the findings from this study indicate that while forest workers are exposed to PAHs and BTEX, the maximum values are generally well below accepted occupational exposure limits.

Authors: Neri F, Foderi C, Laschi A, Fabiano F, Cambi M, Sciarra G, Aprea MC, Cenni A, Marchi E. ;Full Source: Environmental Pollution. 2016 Sep 7. pii: S0269-7491(16)31009-0. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2016.08.070. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Epub ahead of print] ;[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]