Cotton dust sampling for monitoring worker exposure was traditionally performed by work area sampling. A change to an exposure limit based on personal sampling has recently been agreed. The choice of sampling head for personal monitoring exposure was hampered by the use of two different sampling heads in the major epidemiological studies of textile workers which had incorporated personal sampling techniques. The purpose of this study was to compare the results of exposure measurements using these two sampling heads. This study has examined the performance of the two sampling heads, by performing dual sampling on cotton operatives during normal working activities. Each operative included wore two samplers randomly allocated to left or right side. A minimum of 200 minutes of sampling was accepted and the relative concentrations calculated. The IOM total dust sampler produced repeatedly higher measurements than the Manchester head. The ratio overall was 1.33 (95% C,I, 1.20-1.49). The performance was similar across three ranges of dust exposure from low (< 1 mg/m3-ratio 1.28), medium 1-3 mg/m3-ratio 1.43) to high exposure (> 3 mg/m3-ratio 1.24). The two heads give reproducibly proportionate dust measurements with approximately 30% greater results obtained with the IOM total dust sampler. Either dust sampling head could be used for worker monitoring and the results adjusted accordingly for reference to the Maximum Exposure Limit.
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