Hexavalent Chromium and Isocyanate Exposures during Military Aircraft Painting under Crossflow Ventilation
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Hexavalent Chromium and Isocyanate Exposures during Military Aircraft Painting under Crossflow Ventilation

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  • Alternative Title:
    J Occup Environ Hyg
  • Description:
    Exposure control systems performance was investigated in an aircraft painting hangar. The ability of the ventilation system and respiratory protection program to limit worker exposures was examined through air sampling during painting of F/A-18C/D strike fighter aircraft, in four field surveys. Air velocities were measured across the supply filter, exhaust filter, and hangar midplane under crossflow ventilation. Air sampling conducted during painting process phases (wipe-down, primer spraying, and topcoat spraying) encompassed volatile organic compounds, total particulate matter, Cr[VI], metals, nitroethane, and hexamethylene diisocyanate, for two worker groups: sprayers and sprayer helpers ("hosemen"). One of six methyl ethyl ketone and two of six methyl isobutyl ketone samples exceeded the short term exposure limits of 300 and 75 ppm, with means 57 ppm and 63 ppm, respectively. All 12 Cr[VI] 8-hr time-weighted averages exceeded the recommended exposure limit of 1 µg/m3, 11 out of 12 exceeded the permissible exposure limit of 5 µg/m3, and 7 out of 12 exceeded the threshold limit value of 10 µg/m3, with means 38 µg/m3 for sprayers and 8.3 µg/m3 for hosemen. Hexamethylene diisocyanate means were 5.95 µg/m3 for sprayers and 0.645 µg/m3 for hosemen. Total reactive isocyanate group--the total of monomer and oligomer as NCO group mass--showed 6 of 15 personal samples exceeded the United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive workplace exposure limit of 20 µg/m3, with means 50.9 µg/m3 for sprayers and 7.29 µg/m3 for hosemen. Several exposure limits were exceeded, reinforcing continued use of personal protective equipment. The supply rate, 94.4 m3/s (200,000 cfm), produced a velocity of 8.58 m/s (157 fpm) at the supply filter, while the exhaust rate, 68.7 m3/s (146,000 cfm), drew 1.34 m/s (264 fpm) at the exhaust filter. Midway between supply and exhaust locations, the velocity was 0.528 m/s (104 fpm). Supply rate exceeding exhaust rate created re-circulations, turbulence, and fugitive emissions, while wasting energy. Smoke releases showing more effective ventilation here than in other aircraft painting facilities carries technical feasibility relevance.
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