Some Hidden Gems in AIHce 2011 Posters

For instance, IH consultants will be happy to know about the results of SKC Inc. research showing alternative air sampling bags work well.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The posters area at AIHce conferences is always worth a visit. They're standardized in format, easy to read, organized by topic, and gold and red ribbons are pinned on those judged to be the best. One- and two-hour time periods are posted in advance when the lead researchers will be available to answer attendees' questions.

Last week's AIHce 2011 here featured dozens of posters describing completed IH research work in areas including nanotechnology, ergonomics, construction safety, lab safety, agricultural safety, mold, exposure assessment, PPE, respiratory protection, toxicology, engineering controls, and wood dust –- included because the 2nd International Symposium on Wood Dust was held in conjunction May 17-18 and featured presentations from several European, American, and Canadian experts.

Consultants and IH personnel conducting sampling are likely to appreciate a poster titled "The Stability of Sulfur Compounds, Low Molecular Weight Gases, and VOCs in Four Air Sample Bag Materials" that describes research done by Cythia Kuhlman, Linda Coyne, and Nicole Zovack of SKC Inc. in Eighty Four, Pa. They tested the suitability of four different types of air sampling bags in comparison with DuPont's Tedlar film bags; practitioners need to know this because DuPont announced in 2009 that it would "phase out support" for Tedlar film in this market, they wrote.

The four bags -- FluoroFilm, SamplePro, FlexFilm, FlexFoil PLUS, and Kynar -- worked well in the tests, which involved sulfur compounds, VOCs, methane, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. The background levels of the bags were first tested with clean air, then their storage capability was tested daily for three days with known concentrations of the test substances. FlexFoil PLUS was superior for sampling sulfur compounds, while the other three performed well for samping VOCs or low molecular weight compounds, they found. "Low background and storage stability of 3 days for many chemicals were documented in these new films. Users will need to closely review available data to choose the best bag for specific applications," they wrote.

Also of interest were two studies by a pair of Norwegian researchers, Morten Buhagen and Solveig Foreland, of workers' exposure to exhaust related agents, respirable dust, and respirable quartz during 18 months of reconstruction work on a 5-kilometer subsea road tunnel on the wesern coast of Norway after seawater began to penetrate it. The rehab work was done at night, with traffic passing in convoys twice per hour, wrote the pair, who work at the University Hospital of Trondheim's Department of Occupational Medicine and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's Department of Public Health and General Practice. Exposures were generally low, they found, but high peak values of nitrogen dioxide and CO were observed, especially during blasting, and respiratory exposures were highest during asphalt milling and paving.

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