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Workplace Environment and Personal Exposure of PM and PAHs to Workers in Natural Rubber Sheet Factories Contaminated by Wood Burning Smoke

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Volume: 10 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 8-21
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2009.05.0031
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Thitiworn Choosong1, Jiraporn Chomanee2, Perapong Tekasakul3, Surajit Tekasakul2, Yoshio Otani1, Mitsuhiko Hata1, Masami Furuuchi 1

  • 1 Graduated School of Natural Science and Technology, Kanazawa University, Kakuma-machi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 9201192, Japan
  • 2 Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla 90112, Thailand
  • 3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla 90112, Thailand


The workplace environment in factories producing ribbed smoked sheet rubber (RSS), the interiors which are heavily contaminated by wood burning smoke, was evaluated with a focus on the concentration of suspended particulates and particle-bound PAHs as well as workers’ exposure in the breathing zone during the period January, 2006-February, 2008 in Thailand. Seasonal changes in particulate and PAH concentrations are discussed in relation to the amount of RSS produced, wind direction, ventilation type and the geometry of the factory building. The concentration of particulate matter in the workplace was shown to increase nearly linearly with RSS production while being influenced by the wind direction to the open sides of the building and wind speed. Particulate concentrations in the workplace and in the worker’s breathing zone were lower than those for other common occupational exposure limits. However, rather high PAH concentrations of 97.4 ± 129 ng/m3 and 142 ± 184 ng/m3 were found in the workplace and in the breathing zone, respectively. BaPTEQ concentrations in the workplace ranging from 21.4 to 91.0 ng/m3 were similar to those in a sinter plant. The workers’ exposure to PAHs was similar to that in a sinter plant, a metal recycling plant, a paving bitumen manufacturing plant and a carbon black manufacturing plant. The mass fraction of PAHs in particles in the RSS factory was as high as 0.30 BaPTEQ ng/μg, much higher than that in a carbon black plant (0.004-0.01 BaPTEQ ng/μg). The results reported herein suggest that the workers in the RSS factory have a somewhat high health risk from exposure to PAHs. Natural ventilation by the addition of roof turbines was insufficient in terms of reducing PAHs levels in the workplace although a roof ridge vent was functional and had a positive effect.


Smoke Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon Ribbed smoked sheet Exposure Fine particles

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