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Articles by Joseph E. Fernback
Total Records ( 2 ) for Joseph E. Fernback
  John L. Mckernan , Mark A. Toraason , Joseph E. Fernback and Martin R. Petersen
  In tungsten refining and manufacturing processes, a series of tungsten oxides are typically formed as intermediates in the production of tungsten powder. The present study was conducted to characterize airborne tungsten-containing fiber dimensions, elemental composition and concentrations in the US tungsten refining and manufacturing industry. During the course of normal employee work activities, seven personal breathing zone and 62 area air samples were collected and analyzed using National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) fiber sampling and counting methods to determine dimensions, composition and airborne concentrations of fibers. Mixed models were used to identify relationships between potential determinants and airborne fiber concentrations. Results from transmission electron microscopy analyses indicated that airborne fibers with length >0.5 μm, diameter >0.01 μm and aspect ratios ≥3:1 were present on 35 of the 69 air samples collected. Overall, the airborne fibers detected had a geometric mean length ≈3 μm and diameter ≈0.3 μm. Ninety-seven percent of the airborne fibers identified were in the thoracic fraction (i.e. aerodynamic diameter ≤ 10 μm). Energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry results indicated that airborne fibers prior to the carburization process consisted primarily of tungsten and oxygen, with other elements being detected in trace quantities. Based on NIOSH fiber counting ‘B’ rules (length > 5 μm, diameter < 3 μm and aspect ratio ≥ 5:1), airborne fiber concentrations ranged from below the limit of detection to 0.085 fibers cm−3, with calcining being associated with the highest airborne concentrations. The mixed model procedure indicated that process temperature had a marginally significant relationship to airborne fiber concentration. This finding was expected since heated processes such as calcining created the highest airborne fiber concentrations. The finding of airborne tungsten-containing fibers in this occupational setting needs to be confirmed in similar settings and demonstrates the need to obtain information on the durability and associated health effects of these fibers.
  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.

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