Occupational Exposure Assessment of Airborne Chemical Contaminants Among Professional Ski Waxers

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Abstract

Background:

Ski waxes are applied onto the skis to improve the performance. They contain different chemical substances, e.g. perfluoro-n-alkanes. Due to evaporation and sublimation processes as well as mechanically generated dust, vapours, fumes, and particulates can contaminate the workroom atmosphere. The number of professional ski waxers is increasing, but occupational exposure assessments among professional ski waxers are lacking.

Objectives:

The aim was to assess exposure to airborne chemical contaminants among professional ski waxers. It was also a goal to construct a ventilation system designed for ski waxing work operations.

Methods:

Forty-five professional ski waxers were included. Personal measurements of the inhalable and the respirable aerosol mass fractions were executed in 36 different waxing cabins using Conical Inhalable Sampler cassettes equipped with 37-mm PVC filters (5 μm) and Casella respirable cyclones equipped with 37-mm PVC filters (0.8 μm), respectively. Volatile organic components were collected using Anasorb CSC charcoal tubes. To examine time trends in exposure patterns, stationary real-time measurements of the aerosol mass fractions were conducted using a direct-reading Respicon® sampler.

Results:

Mean aerosol particle mass concentrations of 3.1 mg·m-3 (range: 0.2-12.0) and 6.2 mg·m-3 (range: 0.4-26.2) were measured in the respirable and inhalable aerosol mass fractions, respectively. Real-time aerosol sampling showed large variations in particle concentrations, with peak exposures of ˜10 and 30 mg·m-3 in the respirable and the inhalable aerosol particle mass fractions, respectively. The custom-made ventilation system reduced the concentration of all aerosol mass fractions by more than 90%.

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