To evaluate the airborne exposure concentrations of TSPM, RSPM and silica among brickfield workers including exposure of children workers (age >18 years).Methods
Personal samples for silica, respirable and total particulate and silica were collected following NIOSH methods. Logistic regression analysis adjusting age, duration of work and smoking practices was carried out at 0.05 level of significances.Results
A total of 86 silica samples, 72 samples for RSP and 89 samples for TSPM were collected for the similar exposure groups (SEG) in the brick kilns. Among the SEGs, red brick loaders had the highest mean and maximum exposures to silica, RSP and TSP. To summarise, mean results were as follows for the red brick loaders, respectively for silica, RSPM and TSPM: 0.388 mg/m3, 17.944 mg/m3, 22.657 mg/m3. Other SEGs also had exposures above recognised exposure limits to silica, RSP and TSP. Additionally, several SEGs had workers under the age of 18. Exposures were significantly high and results will be discussed.Conclusions
These findings indicate urgent action is required for protection of workers, including working children, from exposures and subsequent diseases associated with particulate matter and silica. Many other hazards exist in the brickfields including heat stress, acute injury and ergonomic hazards that should be addressed.