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Occupational exposure to beryllium in primary aluminium production

Alumina used in the production of primary aluminium contains Be which partly vaporises from the cryolite bath into the workroom atmosphere. Since Be may be toxic at lower exposure levels than previously thought, the personal exposure to Be among workers in 7 Norwegian primary smelters has been assessed. In total, 480 personal Respicon® virtual impactor full shift air samples have been collected during 2 sampling campaigns and analysed for water soluble Be, Al and Na using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry. In addition, water soluble F− has been measured by ion chromatography. The Be air concentrations in the inhalable, thoracic and respirable aerosol fractions have been calculated. The Be concentrations in the inhalable aerosol fraction vary between the different smelters. The highest GM concentration of Be in the inhalable fraction (122 ng m−3, n = 30) was measured in the prebake pot room of a smelter using predominantly Jamaican alumina where also the highest individual air concentration of 270 ng m−3 of Be was identified. The relative distribution of Be in the different aerosol fractions was fairly constant with the mean Be amount for the two sampling campaigns between 44–49% in the thoracic fraction expressed as % of the...

Skaugset, Nils Petter; Ellingsen, Dag; Dahl, Kari; Martinsen, Ivar; Jordbekken, Lars; Drabløs, Per Arne; Thomassen, Yngvar
Journal of Environmental Monitoring 14(2): 353–359
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