A Test Chamber Designed to Measure Respirable Dust for Product Stewardship

A construction materials manufacturer needed to label its products and provide guidance for safe work practices when using its products. To do that, the manufacturer needed to know the amount of respirable dust that could be generated by workers using the products under various conditions.

Workers use a variety of different tools and follow various work practices to size cement board products commonly used in the construction industry. The total amount of respirable dust generated during cutting operations will vary depending on the product type, worker techniques, cutting frequency, tools and dust collection devices used during the work activity.

RJ Lee Group designed and constructed a test chamber to simulate a controlled environment in which we could sample for respirable dust. We tested a number of different construction products and tools and duplicated worker techniques and their corresponding activity rates. Using real-time, direct-read instrumentation in conjunction with traditional integrated air sampling techniques, we recorded the results. We analyzed the samples to determine total respirable dust and to evaluate the dust for chemicals of potential concern.

Data from these studies were used for the development of respirable dust generation rates and modeling of exposure impacts. As a result of these studies, we were able to provide the client manufacturer with sufficient information to appropriately label its products and to provide the necessary warnings for personal protective equipment and dust controls when using its products.