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Atmosphere 2015, 6(8), 960-982; doi:10.3390/atmos6080960

Assessment of Community Exposure to Ambient Respirable Crystalline Silica near Frac Sand Processing Facilities

Air Control Techniques, P.C., 301 East Durham Road, Cary, NC 27513, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Robert Talbot
Received: 16 June 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 3 July 2015 / Published: 24 July 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [3113 KB, uploaded 24 July 2015]   |  

Abstract

Due the rapid expansion of frac sand production, local residents, community leaders, and state regulatory authorities have expressed concerns regarding the lack of ambient respirable crystalline silica concentration data for areas near to these facilities. Long-term average data are needed to compare the fence line concentrations against chronic reference exposure guidelines such as the one adopted by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). This paper provides comprehensive sets of 24 h respirable crystalline silica concentration measurements compiled during multi-year sampling programs at the fence lines of four Wisconsin facilities—three frac sand mines and one frac sand processing plant. The authors adapted Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reference method PM2.5 filter-based samplers to provide respirable (PM4) filter samples. Crystalline silica content of the PM4 particulate matter samples was measured using National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Method 7500 X-ray diffraction. The respirable crystalline silica limit of quantification was 0.31 µg/m3. The geometric mean (GM) respirable crystalline silica concentrations at the fence lines of the frac sand-producing facilities were less than 10% of the 3.0 µg/m3 California OEHHA chronic exposure level and were consistent with background concentrations throughout the upper Midwest of the U.S. View Full-Text
Keywords: respirable crystalline silica; fence line sampling; frac sand mines; frac sand processing plants; community air quality; ambient particulate matter; PM4 particulate matter; PM4 crystalline silica respirable crystalline silica; fence line sampling; frac sand mines; frac sand processing plants; community air quality; ambient particulate matter; PM4 particulate matter; PM4 crystalline silica
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Richards, J.; Brozell, T. Assessment of Community Exposure to Ambient Respirable Crystalline Silica near Frac Sand Processing Facilities. Atmosphere 2015, 6, 960-982.

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