Occupational exposure to rubber vulcanization products during repair of rubber conveyor belts in a brown coal mine
Several hundred chemical compounds were found in workroom environments in the rubber industry, but most of the published exposure data relate to the production of tyres; information from the “non-tyre” sections are very limited, if any. This study was carried out to identify chemical substances and measure their air concentrations in the repair shop of a brown coal mine in which damaged rubber conveyor belts were repaired. GC-MS and HPLC analysis of stationary air samples resulted in identification of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons to C12, PAHs, alcohols, phenols, ketones, heterocyclic nitrogen and sulfur compounds. Quantitative evaluation of occupational exposure included determination of organic compound vapours collected on charcoal (GC-MSD), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (HPLC), N-nitrosoamines and other amines (GC-NPD) and DNPH derivatives of aldehydes (HPLC) in the breathing zone of workers representing all job titles. The concentrations of investigated compounds were very low. Carcinogenic substances: N-nitrosoamines, benzene, PAHs were not present in workroom air in concentrations exceeding limits of detection of the analytical methods being applied; concentrations of methylisobutylketone, tetrachloroethylene, naphtha, aromatic hydrocarbons, phthalates and aldehydes were much lower than the respective occupational exposure limit values. The results indicate much lower exposure than that reported in the production of tyres and other fabricated rubber products.