_this page is outdated, please see [Silica Monitoring](/wiki/silica-monitoring)._ ##the concern This subsection and its citations are derived from L. J. Bhagia's Non-occupational exposure to silica dust, Indian Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine 2012 Sep-Dec; 16(3): 95–100, [available through the NIH]( Silica is a ubiquitous mineral-- most sand is silica-- found in abundance almost everywhere. It has long been known to cause respiratory problems when people are exposed to large quantities, and industrial sources of silica pollution are particularly problematic, and yet not well understood outside of the study of occupational health. Most industrial silica is in the form of the crystal quartz. Freshly crushed quartz particles are sharper and more dangerous than aged quartz [[1](,2,3]. The most dangerous particles are those smaller than 5μm in diameter, and while quartz is tough and hard to break into sizes smaller than 10μm, industrial processes can produce an abundance of sub 5μm particles [4,5]. ##Silica Sites of Concern: Frac Sand We're interested in [monitoring particles](/wiki/particle-sensing) of silica, especially around sand mining operations, which have increased to support the fracking industry, a program [supported by the 11th Hour Project](/notes/Shannon/02-18-2014/public-lab-receives-support-from-the-11th-hour-project-for-a-silica-monitoring-pilot-program). You can follow and join in the latest research at Public Lab [here](/tag/silica). Wisconsin is the source of most frac sand, and new mines are opening rapidly. Political pressure has increased the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to step up efforts at monitoring particulate matter. Monitoring stations have increased from zero monitors in 2011 [[6](] to 13 industrial monitors in 2014, many provided by the industry in question [[7](]. Currently only this DNR program and [Dr. Crispin Pierce’s team]( at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire are monitoring silica PM [[8](“Silica Research” UW Eau Claire. &]. Dr. Pierce’s team uses both real-time monitoring equipment that costs several thousand dollars and laboratory tests by the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene. While laudable, the scale and range of PM sources make it unlikely that these efforts will produce representative PM data for either the complex exposure dynamics around individual mining sites, let alone over the more than 100 frac sand mining sites in Wisconsin. ##Monitoring Challenges Measuring industrial silica contamination is difficult, because silica particles would have to be distinguished from other particles, and categorized by size to find the dangerous particles (≤5 μg). As the EPA says: "Ambient levels are not well quantified for crystalline silica, principally because existing measurement methods, although capable of distinguishing crystalline silica (e.g., X-ray diffraction), were not designed to deal with the large amounts of nonsilica particles in ambient air." [[EPA 1-2, ](] Distinguishing the sources of industrial silica from natural sources of silica, other particulates, and tracing them to their point of origin will be difficult. Complicating this, we can expect three major sources of silica dust from frac sand mining-- dust from excavating and crushing sand, dust from excavation vehicles on unpaved work sites, and dust from work vehicles on paved worksites (EPA 3-3), largely derived from unpaved areas (EPA 3-7). Sand laid for traction on winter ice may account for some roadway emissions (EPA 3-8), and there may also be a minor contribution from silicate ceramics in brake pads of trucks (EPA 3-7). ##Monitoring Strategies ###Linking PM10 to local geology The EPA's suggested strategy is to use an algorithm to link PM10 measurements (all particles roughly 10μg in diameter or less) to site-specific conditions such as the % silica measured using other tests. Some [particulate sensors](/wiki/particle-sensing) could do the PM10 measurements, but characterizing background dust sounds like a hard thing to do and not very diffinitive. Also, The EPA in the very same paper indicates that PM10 cannot be easily correlated to the parent source, because the fracturing of quartz can differ from other constituent minerals, and by the process involved (3-26). Site specific conditions would most likely be determined through lab testing of filter media from respirable dust cyclones using X-ray diffraction to the NIOSH Method 7500 [EPA, Appendix 1-A]. But that method looks inherently expensive, involving turning the filter into a plasma and driving it through silver filter membranes, and then, of course, come X-rays. ### Polarized Microscopy Quartz particles are easily identifiable through counting them on a microscope through a polarized filter [EPA ,Appendix 1-A]. This is a manual method, but this seems very promising as something automatable using machine vision, potentially coupled with [sticky pads.](/wiki/particle-sensing) ###Infrared Need to look here: Pandurangi, R. S.; Seehra, M. S.; Razzaboni, B. L.; Bolsaitis, P. (1990) Surface and bulk infrared modes of crystalline and amorphous silica particles: a study of the relation of surface structure to cytotoxicity of respirable silica. Environ. Health Perspect. 86: 327-336. ####Citations 1. U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. [Ambient levels and noncancer health effects of inhaled crystalline and Amorphous silica: Health issue assessment.]( Triangle Park: US EPA; 1996. EPA/600/R-95/115: Chapter 1. 2. Vallyathan V. Generation of oxygen radicals by minerals and its correlation to cytotoxicity. Environ Health Perspect. 1994;102(Suppl 10):111–5. [PMC free article] [PubMed] 3. Vallyathan V, Shi XL, Dalal NS, Irr W, Castrinova V. Generation of free radicals from freshly fractured silica dust. Potential role in acute silica-induced lung injury. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1988;138:1213–9. [PubMed] 4. Bhagia LJ, Parikh DJ, Saiyed HN. Ambient silica monitoring in vicinity of agate industry, Khambhat, India. Indian J Occup Hyg Safety. 2007;1:6–10. 5. Bhagia LJ, Sadhu HG, Parikh DJ, Karnik AB, Saiyed HN. Prevention, Control and Treatment of Silicosis and Silico-Tuberculosis in Agate Industry Report submitted by National Institute of Occupational Health, Ahmedabad to Indian Council of Medical Research and the Ministry of Health and Family welfare, Government of India. 2004 6. Page 2, [“Report to the Natural Resources Board: Silica Study”. 2011: Wisconsin DNR, AM-40.]( 7. “Frac sand health fears rise as mining booms in Wisconsin.” October 06, 2013: Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. 8. “Silica Research” UW Eau Claire. & 9. Pandurangi, R. S.; Seehra, M. S.; Razzaboni, B. L.; Bolsaitis, P. (1990) Surface and bulk infrared modes of crystalline and amorphous silica particles: a study of the relation of surface structure to cytotoxicity of respirable silica. Environ. Health Perspect. 86: 327-336....

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abiya "I injured my wrists in a bike accident last night and am headed in for xrays this afternoon, so I won't make it over tonight. I'm excited to read a..." | Read more » over 8 years ago
stevie "Gearing up and getting excited! " | Read more » over 8 years ago
marlokeno "I will be attending! " | Read more » over 8 years ago
abiya "I'll drive over to Menomonie from Minneapolis in my gas-guzzling vehicle which seats 5; happy to carpool! " | Read more » over 8 years ago
abiya "I will be attending! " | Read more » over 8 years ago
mathew "@DavidMack Good catch! My notebook measures test 2 at 38.78, right next to 39.78 for the next test! I edited the note. thanks! You're right abou..." | Read more » over 8 years ago
DavidMack "@mathew Great work and the title is appropriate! Sometimes when I’d compare instruments head to head it would be referred to a “shoot out”—an inst..." | Read more » over 8 years ago
warren "Yeah Dan, I later realized that a draw valve at the top would be better than a push valve at the bottom, and I think it'd mean the gasket would be ..." | Read more » over 8 years ago
danbeavers "@warren How do you start the timer? I don't see a sensor for the start, only the end. Another set of electrodes appear necessary. Will that set ..." | Read more » over 8 years ago
warren "We've gotten the Shinyei connected up to the Phant instance at, with an open source driver, over USB:" | Read more » over 8 years ago
warren "Wow, very cool. I'm thinking of what kinds of vessels could be easily adapted to a DIY version of the sort of spring-loaded bubble making frame in ..." | Read more » over 8 years ago
mathew "awesome! " | Read more » over 8 years ago
warren "Hey @mathew - wrote up a driver for the Dylos - it was very simple, just listening and it returns "0,0" every so often. If there's a manual or some..." | Read more » over 8 years ago
warren "And taking note that for the Thermofisher and the Speck, we're only doing spot readings, not averages. This should change:" | Read more » over 8 years ago
warren "And the Speck too: now running. " | Read more » over 8 years ago
warren "Note that I did not zero out the TF, and the vertical scales are wrong. Just very very early testing of the drivers. " | Read more » over 8 years ago
warren "And over a longer period -- 2/3 of the way through, i lit a piece of paper on fire. " | Read more » over 8 years ago
warren "Thermofisher working! and Leavin..." | Read more » over 8 years ago
warren "Mathew also did some good research on the ThermoFisher PDR-1500" | Read more » over 8 years ago
warren "We now have live graphs from it -- looking good! " | Read more » over 8 years ago
warren "Here's some data from the Shinyei. We're still interpreting this: " | Read more » over 8 years ago
warren "Finishd the OPK Firmata CLI for one-pin readings: @rjstatic and @donblair - pretty useful; basically ..." | Read more » over 8 years ago
warren "So, today I wrote an OPK driver using the Firmata Node library to access an Arduino over the Firmata firmware, but we discovered that the Shinyei n..." | Read more » over 8 years ago
warren "@mathew sez: Node.js interface for the Speck: node.js interface for SHT15 on Raspberry Pi htt..." | Read more » over 8 years ago