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Evaluation Of Take-home Exposure And Risk Associated With The Handling Of Clothing Contaminated With Chrysotile Asbestos.

J. Sahmel, C. A. Barlow, B. Simmons, S. Gaffney, H. Avens, A. Madl, J. Henshaw, R. J. Lee, D. V. Van Orden, M. Sanchez, M. Zock, D. Paustenbach
Published 2014 · Environmental Science, Medicine

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The potential for para-occupational (or take-home) exposures from contaminated clothing has been recognized for the past 60 years. To better characterize the take-home asbestos exposure pathway, a study was performed to measure the relationship between airborne chrysotile concentrations in the workplace, the contamination of work clothing, and take-home exposures and risks. The study included air sampling during two activities: (1) contamination of work clothing by airborne chrysotile (i.e., loading the clothing), and (2) handling and shaking out of the clothes. The clothes were contaminated at three different target airborne chrysotile concentrations (0-0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter [f/cc], 1-2 f/cc, and 2-4 f/cc; two events each for 31-43 minutes; six events total). Arithmetic mean concentrations for the three target loading levels were 0.01 f/cc, 1.65 f/cc, and 2.84 f/cc (National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety [NIOSH] 7402). Following the loading events, six matched 30-minute clothes-handling and shake-out events were conducted, each including 15 minutes of active handling (15-minute means; 0.014-0.097 f/cc) and 15 additional minutes of no handling (30-minute means; 0.006-0.063 f/cc). Percentages of personal clothes-handling TWAs relative to clothes-loading TWAs were calculated for event pairs to characterize exposure potential during daily versus weekly clothes-handling activity. Airborne concentrations for the clothes handler were 0.2-1.4% (eight-hour TWA or daily ratio) and 0.03-0.27% (40-hour TWA or weekly ratio) of loading TWAs. Cumulative chrysotile doses for clothes handling at airborne concentrations tested were estimated to be consistent with lifetime cumulative chrysotile doses associated with ambient air exposure (range for take-home or ambient doses: 0.00044-0.105 f/cc year).
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