Exposure to airborne particles and volatile organic compounds from polyurethane molding, spray painting, lacquering, and gluing in a workshop

Due to the health risk related to occupational air pollution exposure, we assessed concentrations and identified sources of particles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in a handcraft workshop producing fishing lures. The work processes in the site included polyurethane molding, spray painting, lacquering, and gluing. We measured total VOC (TVOC) concentrations and particle size distributions at three locations representing the various phases of the manufacturing and assembly process. The mean working-hour TVOC concentrations in three locations studied were 41, 37, and 24 ppm according to photo-ionization detector measurements. The mean working-hour particle number concentration varied between locations from 3000 to 36,000 cm−3. Analysis of temporal and spatial variations of TVOC concentrations revealed that there were at least four substantial VOC sources: spray gluing, mold-release agent spraying, continuous evaporation from various lacquer and paint containers, and either spray painting or lacquering (probably both). The mold-release agent spray was indirectly also a major source of ultrafine particles. The workers' exposure can be reduced by improving the local exhaust ventilation at the known sources and by increasing the ventilation rate in the area with the continuous source.

Source: Mølgaard B, Viitanen AK, Kangas A, et al. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2015;12 (4), p. 3756-73.
http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120403756

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