Question: Looking for original research on OSHA sampling methods that would underestimate silica exposure

bhamster is asking a question about general
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by bhamster | November 16, 2021 18:58 | #28122

Hi! An inquiry came in about material on the silica monitoring wiki page, which states:

The sampling techniques outlined by OSHA for occupational silica exposure would systematically underestimate silica exposure in non-occupational ambient settings

Is there original research or other sources that inform this statement about erroneous estimates? Any tips or leads would be greatly appreciated!


@mathew, if you have any thoughts on this, I'd appreciate it! Thank you

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Some additional context, essentially rephrasing from the wiki page: it looks like the potentially problematic estimates of silica in outdoor air might arise from how the specific sampling method deals with different particle sizes. By design, smaller respirable particles are sampled more than larger ones. So, small particles would make up a larger proportion of the sample.

If the dust in the air is mostly silica, even if it’s all different sizes, this method would probably accurately represent how much silica is in the air overall. This is what you might expect in an occupational setting. But in outdoor air, much of these smaller particles would be materials other than silica (instead coming from fossil fuel combustion, smog, and other sources). So a sampling method skewed toward smaller particles might undercount the silica that’s actually in the air, potentially missing out on larger particles that would still pose a health hazard.

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