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An experimental study to investigate the feasibility to classify paints according to neurotoxicological risks: Occupational air requirement (OAR) and indoor use of alkyd paints

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Author: Brouwer, D.H. · Pater, N.A.J. de · Zomer, C. · Lurvink, M.W.M. · Hemmen, J.J. van
Institution: TNO Kwaliteit van Leven TNO Defensie en Veiligheid
Source:Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 5, 49, 443-451
Identifier: 238593
doi: doi:10.1093/annhyg/mei007
Keywords: Health Workplace · Food and Chemical Risk Analysis · Indoor exposure · Paint composition · VOC · Air · Indoor exposure · Paint composition · Risk classification · Occupational diseases · thinner · volatile agent · volatile organic compound · air quality · air sampling · algorithm · ambient air · controlled study · evaporation · room ventilation · statistical significance · work environment · Air Pollutants, Occupational · Air Pollution, Indoor · Environmental Monitoring · Feasibility Studies · Humans · Inhalation Exposure · Maximum Allowable Concentration · Neurotoxicity Syndromes · Occupational Exposure · Occupational Health · Paint · Risk Assessment · Solvents · Volatilization · Schilders · Neurologie · Metingen · Beroepszioekten · Lakspuiten · verfspuiten


The concept of occupational air requirement (OAR), representing the quantity of air required to dilute the vapor concentration in the work environment resulting from 11 product to a concentration below the occupational exposure limit (OEL), was considered to have potential to discriminate between paints that can and cannot be used safely. The OAR is a simple algorithm with the concentration of volatile organic compound (VOC) in the paint, a discrete evaporation factor and the neurotoxicological effects-based OEL. Conceptually, OAR categories of paints for construction and maintenance applications could be identified that can be applied manually without exceeding OELs with no appreciable room ventilation. Five painters volunteered in an exposure study aimed at testing the OAR approach in practice. Total exposure to VOC was assessed in 30 experiments during the application of 0.5 l of paint in a defined 'standard indoor paint job'. Fifteen paints were prepared, reflecting differences in solvents (percentage, volatility, toxicity) with a range of OAR levels from 43 to 819 m3/l. Exposure was assessed by personal air sampling (PAS). In addition, real-time air monitoring was performed. All tests were conducted at minimum ventilation rate (≤0.33 h-1). PAS results were expressed as percentage of the nominal OEL and ranged from 8 to 93% for high solids and from 38 to 168% for conventional paints. In general, higher VOC contents resulted in higher exposure. High volatile paints showed a statistically significant faster increase of VOC concentration with time compared with paints containing low volatile solvents. A significant relationship between OAR value and exposure was observed (R2 = 0.73). The experiments indicate that OAR-based classification of paints predicts and discriminates risk levels for exposure to neurotoxic paint-solvents in indoor painting fairly well. © 2005 British Occupational Hygiene Society Published by Oxford University Press. Chemicals / CAS: Air Pollutants, Occupational; Solvents