Publications : 2012

Berman DW, Brorby GP, Sheehan PJ, Bogen KT, Holm SE. 2012. More on the dynamics of dust generation: The effects of mixing and sanding chrysotile, calcium carbonate, and other compounds on the characteristics of joint-compound dusts. Ann Occup Hyg 56(7):852-867.


An ongoing research effort designed to reconstruct the character of historical exposures associated with use of chrysotile-containing joint compounds naturally raised questions concerning how the character (e.g. particle size distributions) of dusts generated from use of recreated materials compares to dusts from similar materials manufactured historically. This also provided an opportunity to further explore the relative degree that the characteristics of dusts generated from a bulk material are mediated by the properties of the bulk material versus the mechanical processes applied to the bulk material by which the dust is generated. In the current study, the characteristics of dusts generated from a recreated ready mix and recreated dry mix were compared to each other, to dusts from a historical dry mix, and to dusts from the commercial chrysotile fiber (JM 7RF3) used in the recreated materials. The effect of sanding on the character of dusts generated from these materials was also explored. Dusts from the dry materials studied were generated and captured for analysis in a dust generator-elutriator. The recreated and historical joint compounds were also prepared, applied to drywall, and sanded inside sealed bags so that the particles produced from sanding could be introduced into the elutriator and captured for analysis. Comparisons of fiber size distributions in dusts from these materials suggest that dust from commercial fiber is different from dusts generated from the joint compounds, which are mixtures, and the differences persist whether the materials are sanded or not. Differences were also observed between sanded recreated ready mix and either the recreated dry mix or a historical dry mix, again whether sanded or not. In all cases, however, such differences disappeared when variances obtained from surrogate data were used to better represent the ‘irreducible variation’ of these materials. Even using the smaller study-specific variances, no differences were observed between the recreated dry mix and the historical dry mix, indicating that chrysotile-containing joint compounds can be recreated using historical formulations such that the characteristics of the modern material reasonably mimic those of a corresponding historical material. Similarly, no significant differences were observed between dusts from sanded and unsanded versions of similar materials, suggesting (as in previous studies) that the characteristics of asbestos-containing dusts are mediated primarily by the properties of the bulk material from which they are derived.