Evaluation of exposure to the airborne asbestos in an asbestos cement sheet manufacturing industry in Iran

Panahi, Davood; Kakooei, Hossein; Marioryad, Hossein; Mehrdad, Ramin; Golhosseini, Mohammad
July 2011
Environmental Monitoring & Assessment;Jul2011, Vol. 178 Issue 1-4, p449
Academic Journal
Iran imports nearly 55,000 tons of Chrysotile asbestos per year and asbestos cement (AC) plants contribute nearly 94% of the total national usage. In the present study, airborne asbestos concentrations during AC sheet manufacturing were measured. The fiber type and its chemical composition were also evaluated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), with energy-dispersive X-ray analysis. Airborne total fiber concentrations of 45 personal samples were analyzed by phase contrast microscopy. The results have highlighted that 15.5% of samples exceed the threshold limit value (TLV) established the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, which is 0.1 fiber per milliliter (f/ml). Personal monitoring of asbestos fiber levels indicated a ranged from 0.02 ± 0.01 to 0.16 ± 0.03 f/ml. The geometrical mean was 0.05 ± 1.36 f/ml, which is considerably lower than the TLV. SEM data demonstrate that the fibrous particles consisted, approximately, of Chrysotile (55.89%) and amphiboles (44.11%). We conclude that the industrial consumption of imported Chrysotile asbestos is responsible for the high airborne amphibole asbestos levels in the AC sheet industry. More research is needed to improve characterization of occupational exposures by fiber size and concentration in a variety of industries.


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