Relationships between inhalable and total hexavalent chromium exposures in steel passivation, welding and electroplating operations of Ontario
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The main aim of the study was to assess the relationship between inhalable hexavalent chromium and "total" hexavalent chromium. Air sampling was conducted at steel passivation operation of a steel manufacturer at a stainless steel welding operation and at two hard chrome electroplaters. Air samples were taken side-by-side for "total" dust using closed-face 37-mm diameter cassette samplers and for inhalable dust using Institute of Occupational Medicine inhalable samplers. A total of 40 pairs of total and inhalable dust samples were collected and later analyzed. The range of "total" dust and inhalable dust concentrations in μg/m3 measured were 30-410 and 0.02 to 740 respectively for steel passivation; 260 to 1520 and 477 to 6970 for welding; and 0.01 to 1500 and 204 to 2130 for electroplaters. The range of "total" dust hexavalent chromium and inhalable dust hexavalent chromium concentrations in μg/m3 were 0.02-89 and 0.02 to 150 respectively for steel making; 4.1 to 4.9 and 2.2 to 6.9 for welding and 0.01 to 9.3 and 0.01 to 21 for electroplaters. A linear relationship between inhalable hexavalent chromium and "total" hexavalent chromium was found with a slope of 1.4 (CI:1.3, 1.5) and 0 offset. A ratio of 1.4 can thus be used as a conversion factor to convert previous data of hexavalent chromium taken on "total" dust basis to inhalable hexavalent chromium concentrations.
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