Evaluation of a Low-Cost Aerosol Sensor to Assess Dust Concentrations in a Swine Building

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Exposure to dust is a known occupational hazard in the swine industry, although efforts to measure exposures are labor intensive and costly. In this study, we evaluated a Dylos DC1100 as a low-cost (~$200) alternative to assess respirable dust concentrations in a swine building in winter. Dust concentrations were measured with collocated monitors (Dylos DC1100; an aerosol photometer, the pDR-1200; and a respirable sampler analyzed gravimetrically) placed in two locations within a swine farrowing building in winter for 18–24-h periods. The particle number concentrations measured with the DC1100 were converted to mass concentration using two methods: Physical Property Method and Regression Method. Raw number concentrations from the DC1100 were highly correlated to mass concentrations measured with the pDR-1200 with a coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.85, indicating that the two monitors respond similarly to respirable dust in this environment. Both methods of converting DC1100 number concentrations to mass concentrations yielded strong linear relationships relative to that measured with the pDR-1200 (Physical Property Method: slope = 1.03, R2 = 0.72; Regression Method: slope = 0.72, R2 = 0.73) and relative to that measured gravimetrically (Physical Property Method: slope = 1.08, R2 = 0.64; Regression Method: slope = 0.75, R2 = 0.62). The DC1100 can be used as a reasonable indicator of respirable mass concentrations within a CAFO and may have broader applicability to other agricultural and industrial settings.

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