Occupational Exposure to Diesel Particulate Matter in Municipal Household Waste Workers

The purposes of this study were to determine the following: 1) the exposure levels of municipal household waste (MHW) workers to diesel particulate matter (DPM) using elemental carbon (EC), organic carbon (OC), total carbon (TC), black carbon (BC), and fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) as indicators; 2) the correlations among the indicators; 3) the optimal indicator for DPM; and 4) factors that influence personal exposure to DPM. A total of 72 workers in five MHW collection companies were assessed over a period of 7 days from June to September 2014. Respirable EC/OC samples were quantified using the thermal optical transmittance method. BC and PM 2.5 were measured using real-time monitors, an aethalometer and a laser photometer. All results were statistically analysed for occupational and environmental variables to identify the exposure determinants of DPM. The geometric mean of EC, OC, TC, BC and PM 2.5 concentrations were 4.8, 39.6, 44.8, 9.1 and 62.0 ?g/m3, respectively. EC concentrations were significantly correlated with the concentrations of OC, TC and BC, but not with those of PM 2.5. The exposures of the MHW collectors to EC, OC, and TC were higher than those of the drivers (p<0.05). Workers of trucks meeting Euro 3 emission standard had higher exposures to EC, OC, TC and PM 2.5 than those working on Euro 4 trucks (p<0.05). Multiple regression analysis revealed that the job task, European engine emission standard, and average driving speed were the most influential factors in determining worker exposure. The authors assessed MHW workers' exposure to DPM using parallel sampling of five possible indicators. Of these five indicators, EC was shown to be the most useful indicator of DPM exposure for MHW workers, and the job task, European emission standard, and average driving speed were the main determinants of EC exposure. Authors: Lee KH, Jung HJ, Park DU, Ryu SH, Kim B, Ha KC, Kim S, Yi G, Yoon C. ;Full Source: PLoS One. 2015 Aug 6;10(8):e0135229. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135229. eCollection 2015. ;