Archive for category Air sampling

How should I sample to comply with OSHA’s silica dust standard?

“So, silica…”dusty

This was how many conversations started while exhibiting at conference  last week. OSHA released its rule for occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica back in March and many are still looking to understand how it will affect their business and employees.

The new rule goes into effect on June 23, 2016 and most business will have between one to five years to comply depending on industry. The new standard reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift. This is a reduction is two to five times lower than the previous PEL.

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11 ways you may be using your gas detection tubes incorrectly

Ever send someone out to collect samples with a gas detection pump and tubes that may not have received proper training? Ever have a time where you received inaccurate data? What did that mean for you? Believe it or not, there are still many people who do not use gas detection tubes properly. Ron Roberson, CIH at Sensidyne had a list of ways that detection tubes have been used incorrectly.

gas-detector-tubes1) Using tubes past their expiration date: As the chemical deteriorates, it will affect the stain length, and alter the accuracy. Then at some point it will no longer react at all.

2) Tubes used backwards: Most tubes will only work in one direction, due to multiple internal layers. They incorporate a directional arrow which must be pointed toward the pump.

3) Improperly storing tubes: If tubes are allowed to get hot in storage, or they are left exposed to the sun, they may not respond properly, due to advanced aging.

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A cloud based remote dust monitoring solution

A few weeks back, I wrote about how humidity can affect your readings while dust monitoring. I also wrote about how a heated inlet can help improve these measurements.

Now, let’s say that data is in location a few miles away from your office, or even a few hundred miles. Likely, you or someone else would have to trek out to field and retrieve your data. And as your driving or walking out there, you’re likely thinking to yourself “there has to be an easier way to get this data (without the use of a really really long cable)”. And you’d be correct.

Enter a little company called Netronix.

Netronix provides a device and network that lets its customers monitor a number environmental conditions including air quality (both particulate and gas), noise, water quality and water pressure.

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Overcoming the effects of humidity during remote dust monitoring

As we move into summer we all feel the effects of humidity outside. It makes it feel so much hotter. You feel sluggish. The air just feels heavy.

Humidity can have that same effect when you are sampling dust using a photometer. It can overestimate your total mass measurement, making it seem heavier. Why? Photometers measure the light scattered by aerosol particles. When there is more moisture in the air, water hangs on to these particles and makes them appear larger. The instrument, in turn, gives you a higher mass concentration level.  This can greatly affect the accuracy of your real-time measurements.singapore-nki

To help combat the effects of humidity, TSI developed a heated inlet conditioner for its DustTrak II and DustTrak DRX aerosol monitors.   To test them, they went to Singapore and the coast of Australia. I volunteered tto go and observe. Sadly, I wasn’t invited.

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The five ways particles are filtered from the air

Removing particles are often a key role to meeting certain indoor air quality and critical environment goals. This is particularly the case when dealing with clean rooms or hospitals. There are a number of different types of pollutant particles that can affect air quality; particulate matter and gaseous pollutants.

Particulate matter includes dust, smoke, pollen, animal dander, tobacco smoke, particles generated from combustion appliances such as cooking stoves, and particles associated with tiny organisms such as dust mites, molds, bacteria, and viruses.

Gaseous pollutants come from combustion processes. Sources include gas cooking stoves, vehicle exhaust, and tobacco smoke. They also come from building materials, furnishings, and the use of products such as adhesives, paints, varnishes, cleaning products, and pesticides.

While there are a number of ways to filter particles from the air, mechanical filters are the most common. They use fibers to catch particles as air is forced through an HVAC system. These filters catch particles in five possible ways:

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