Determinants of exposure to inhalable particulate, wood dust, resin acids, and monoterpenes in a lumber mill environment

  • Teschke K
  • Demers P
  • Davies H
 et al. 
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Abstract

In a lumber mill in the northern inland region of British Columbia, Canada, we measured inhalable particulate, resin acid, and monoterpene exposures, and estimated wood dust exposures. Potential determinants of exposure were documented concurrently, including weather conditions, tree species, wood conditions, jobs, tasks, equipment used, and certain control measures. Over 220 personal samples were taken for each contaminant. Geometric mean concentrations were 0.98 mg/m3for inhalable particulate, 0.49 mg/m3for estimated wood dust, 8.04 μg/m3for total resin acids, and 1.11 mg/m3for total monoterpenes. Multiple regression models for all contaminants indicated that spruce and pine produced higher exposures than alpine fir or mixed tree species, cleaning up sawdust increased exposures, and personnel enclosure was an effective means of reducing exposures. Sawing wood in the primary breakdown areas of the mill was the main contributor to monoterpene exposures, so exposures were highest for the barker operator, the head rig operator, the canter operator, the board edgers, and a roving utility worker in the sawmill, and lowest in the planer mills (after kiln drying of the lumber) and yard. Cleaning up sawdust, planing kiln-dried lumber, and driving mobile equipment in the yard substantially increased exposures to both inhalable particulate and estimated wood dust. Jobs at the front end of the sawmill where primary breakdown of the logs takes place had lower exposures. Resin acid exposures followed a similar pattern, except that yard driving jobs did not increase exposures.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cross-sectional studies
  • Epidemiology
  • Occupational exposure
  • Wood dust

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