Assessing occupational erionite and respirable crystalline silica exposure among outdoor workers in Wyoming, South Dakota, and Montana

Erionite is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral found in many parts of the world, including the western United States. Inhalational exposure to erionite fibres in some localities is associated with health effects similar to those caused by asbestos exposure, including malignant mesothelioma. Therefore, there is concern regarding occupational exposures in the western United States. Currently there are no standard sampling and analytical methods for airborne erionite fibres, as well as no established occupational exposure limits. Due to the potential adverse health effects, characterising and minimising exposures is prudent. Crystalline silica also occurs naturally in areas where erionite is found, principally as the mineral quartz. Work activities involving rocks containing quartz and soils derived from those rocks can lead to exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS). The typically dry and dusty environment of the western United States can increase the likelihood of exposures to aerosolised rocks and soils, but inhalation exposure is also possible in more humid conditions. In this case study, the authors describe several outdoor occupational environments with potential exposures to erionite and RCS. The authors described the method for evaluating those exposures and demonstrate: (1) the occurrence of occupational exposures to airborne erionite and RCS, (2) that the chemical make-up of the erionite mineral can be determined, and (3) that effective dust control practices are needed to reduce employee exposures to these minerals.

Authors: Beaucham C, King B, Feldmann K, Harper M, Dozier A. ; Full Source: Journal of Occupational & Environmental Hygiene. 2018 Mar 26:1-33. doi: 10.1080/15459624.2018.1447116. [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]

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