A Comparison of Sampling and Analytical Methods for Assessing Occupational Exposure to Diesel Exhaust in a Railroad Work Environment Academic Article uri icon

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  • Methods of assessing occupational exposure to diesel exhaust were evaluated in a railroad work environment. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH)-recommended elemental carbon and respirable combustible dust methods of sampling and analysis for assessing diesel exhaust were included in the study. A total of 215 personal and area samples were collected using both size-selective (nylon cyclone and Marple) and non-size-selective samplers. The results demonstrate that the elemental carbon method is suitable for the railroad environment and the respirable combustible dust method is not. All elemental carbon concentrations measured were below the proposed ACGIH Threshold Limit Value (TLV) of 0.15 mg/m3. The concentrations of oxides of nitrogen (nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide) were also found to be below their respective TLVs. There is no correlation between elemental carbon or respirable combustible dust and the oxides of nitrogen. The elemental carbon as fraction of total carbon is about 13 percent, except for onboard locomotives where it is about 24 percent. Comparison of elemental carbon and respirable combustible dust measurements showed consistent relationships for most sampling locations, with respirable combustible dust concentrations 12 to 53 times higher than the elemental carbon levels.


  • Verma, Dave K
  • Shaw, Lorraine
  • Julian, James
  • Smolynec, Kathy
  • Wood, Chris
  • Shaw, Don

publication date

  • January 1999