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Articles by Mary K. Schubauer-Berigan
Total Records ( 2 ) for Mary K. Schubauer-Berigan
  Matthew M. Dahm , Douglas E. Evans , Mary K. Schubauer-Berigan , M. Eileen Birch and Joseph E. Fernback
  Research Significance: Toxicological evidence suggests the potential for a wide range of health effects, which could result from exposure to carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and carbon nanofibers (CNFs). The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has proposed a recommended exposure limit (REL) for CNTs/CNFs at the respirable size fraction. The current literature is lacking exposure information, with few studies reporting results for personal breathing zone (PBZ) samples in occupational settings. To address this gap, exposure assessments were conducted at six representative sites identified as CNT/CNF primary or secondary manufacturers.

Methods: Personal and area filter-based samples were collected for both the inhalable mass concentration and the respirable mass concentration of elemental carbon (EC) as well as CNT structure count analysis by transmission electron microscopy to assess exposures. When possible, full-shift PBZ samples were collected; area samples were collected on a task-based approach.

Results: The vast majority of samples collected in this study were below the proposed REL (7 μg m-3). Two of the three secondary manufacturers’ surveyed found concentrations above the proposed REL. None of the samples collected at primary manufacturers were found to be above the REL. Visual and microscopy-based evidence of CNTs/CNFs were found at all sites, with the highest CNT/CNF structure counts being found in samples collected at secondary manufacturing sites. The statistical correlations between the filter-based samples for the mass concentration of EC and CNT structure counts were examined. A general trend was found with a P-value of 0.01 and a corresponding Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.44.

Conclusions: CNT/CNF concentrations were above the proposed NIOSH REL for PBZ samples in two secondary manufacturing facilities that use these materials for commercial applications. These samples were collected during dry powder handling processes, such as mixing and weighing, using fairly large quantities of CNTs/CNFs.

  Matthew M. Dahm , Douglas E. Evans , Mary K. Schubauer-Berigan , M. Eileen Birch and James A. Deddens
  Research Significance: Toxicological evidence suggests the potential for a wide range of health effects from exposure to carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and carbon nanofibers (CNFs). To date, there has been much focus on the use of direct-reading instruments (DRIs) to assess multiple airborne exposure metrics for potential exposures to CNTs and CNFs due to their ease of use and ability to provide instantaneous results. Still, uncertainty exists in the usefulness and interpretation of the data. To address this gap, air-monitoring was conducted at six sites identified as CNT and CNF manufacturers or users and results were compared with filter-based metrics.

Methods: Particle number, respirable mass, and active surface area concentrations were monitored with a condensation particle counter, a photometer, and a diffusion charger, respectively. The instruments were placed on a mobile cart and used as area monitors in parallel with filter-based elemental carbon (EC) and electron microscopy samples. Repeat samples were collected on consecutive days, when possible, during the same processes. All instruments in this study are portable and routinely used for industrial hygiene sampling.

Results: Differences were not observed among the various sampled processes compared with concurrent indoor or outdoor background samples while examining the different DRI exposure metrics. Such data were also inconsistent with results for filter-based samples collected concurrently at the same sites [Dahm MM, Evans DE, Schubauer-Berigan MK et al. (2012) Occupational exposure assessment in CNT and nanofiber primary and secondary manufacturers. Ann Occup Hyg; 56: 542-56]. Significant variability was seen between these processes as well as the indoor and outdoor backgrounds. However, no clear pattern emerged linking the DRI results to the EC or the microscopy data (CNT and CNF structure counts).

Conclusions: Overall, no consistent trends were seen among similar processes at the various sites. The DRI instruments employed were limited in their usefulness in assessing and quantifying potential exposures at the sampled sites but were helpful for hypothesis generation, control technology evaluations, and other air quality issues. The DRIs employed are nonspecific, aerosol monitors, and, therefore, subject to interferences. As such, it is necessary to collect samples for analysis by more selective, time-integrated, laboratory-based methods to confirm and quantify exposures.

 
 
 
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