RESEARCH PAPER
Exposure to airborne microorganisms and volatile organic compounds in different types of waste handling.
 
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1
National Public Health Institute, Division of Environmental Health, Kuopio, Finland
2
Kuopio Regional Institute of Occupational Health, Kuopio, Finland
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Anneli Tuomainen   

Kuopio Regional Institute of Occupational Health, P.O. Box 93, FIN-70701 Kuopio, Finland
 
Ann Agric Environ Med. 1999;6(1):39–44
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ABSTRACT
Occupational exposure of workers to airborne microorganisms and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in different types of waste treatment situations was examined during summer time. Microorganisms were collected as stationary samples using a six-stage Andersen impactor, while for VOCs both personal and stationary sampling was conducted. The exposure at the waste handling facility was considerably greater than at landfill sites or in waste collection. The concentrations of viable fungi were maximally 105 cfu/m3, and the concentrations of both total culturable bacteria and Gram-negative bacteria exceeded the proposed occupational exposure limit values (OELV), being 104 and 103 cfu/m3, respectively. Exposure to VOCs in the waste handling facility was three times higher than at the landfill sites, being at highest 3000 microg/m3, considered to be the limit for discomfort. The use of personal protective equipment at work, thorough hand washing and changing clothes after the work shift are strongly recommended in the waste handling facility and the landfill sites.
eISSN:1898-2263
ISSN:1232-1966