Size Selective Personal Air Sampling Using Porous Foams

Project No. BIA 1058


completed 12/2002


This project aimed to develop a new reference method for the measurement of hazardous airborne substances in the workplace which conforms to the standard EN 481 "Workplace atmospheres: Size fraction definition for measurement of airborne particles" and provides a better assessment of occupational health risks than methods which are currently available. In order to get precise data of the workplace exposure, these three dust fractions must be sampled simultaneously at the working person itself. The project dealt with the development of a suitable method for simultaneously sampling of the three particle fractions using porous plastic foams.


Porous foams seem to have similar particle separating filtering characteristics as those of pulmonary airways of man. The foam characteristics were determined in detail; and a three stage personal air sampling system using such foams was prototyped and adopted to two existing personal air samplers in order to get a simple, easy to handle sampling technique. Besides the hardware of a sampler, special attention was paid to the development of suitable analysis procedures to determine both the mass of the sampled dust of each stage and its chemical composition.


Successful completion of the project resulted in the recommendation of this sampling method for use in European member states to reach a higher degree of harmonization in occupational exposure assessment.

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Financed by:
  • Europäische Union - Generaldirektion XII
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s):
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitsschutz - BIA
  • Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM)
  • Health & Safety Laboratory (HSL)
  • Institut nationale de recherche et de sécurité (INRS)
  • Universität Lausanne
  • Lavoro e Ambiente

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

dangerous substances


Messverfahren, Exposition

Description, key words:

dust sampling, reference method, simultaneous sampling, porous plastic foams, dust fractions