Electrostatic dust collector: a passive screening method to assess occupational exposure to organic dust in primary health care centers

Carla Viegas, Patrícia Santos, Beatriz Almeida, Ana Monteiro, Elisabete Carolino, Anita Quintal Gomes, Susana Viegas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Passive methods, such as electrostatic dust collectors (EDCs), allow determination of contamination levels for a long period of time, while air samples can only reproduce the load for a shorter period of time. We intended to analyze the suitability of EDC for identifying critical workstations of occupational exposure to particulate matter and for characterizing the bioburden present in ten primary health care centers (PHCC). Dust was allowed to settle for 15 days on EDCs (N = 81). Particle counts and size distribution (0.3, 0.5, 1, 2.5, 5, and 10 μm) were measured with direct-reading equipment. The results were considered significant at a 5% significance level. Significant correlations were detected between EDC weight (g) and particle counts of inhalation fraction (r = 0.235, p = 0.035), mass (μg m −3 ) of inhalation fraction (r = 0.235, p = 0.035), and total particulate matter (TPM) (mg m −3 ; r = 0.238, p = 0.033). Fungal contamination levels on malt extract agar (MEA) ranged from 0 to 53,397.03 CFU m −2 . Chrysonilia sitophila (96.75%) was the most frequent fungus. The total bacterial contamination ranged from 0 to 4670.91 CFU m −2 , and gram-negative bacteria ranged from 0 to 530.79 CFU m −2 . EDC can be applied as a screening method for particle-exposure assessment and as a complementary sampling method for assessing bioburden.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-583
Number of pages11
JournalAir Quality, Atmosphere and Health
Volume12
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2019

Keywords

  • Bacteria
  • Electrostatic dust collectors
  • Exposure assessment
  • Fungi
  • Primary health care centers

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