A comparison of sampling and analytical methods for assessing occupational exposure to diesel exhaust in a railroad work environment

Dave K. Verma, Lorraine Shaw, Jim Julian, Kathy Smolynec, Chris Wood, Don Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Methods of assessing occupational exposure to diesel exhaust were evaluated in a railroad work environment. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH)-recommended elemental carbon and respirable combustible dust methods of sampling and analysis for assessing diesel exhaust were included in the study. A total of 215 personal and area samples were collected using both size-selected (nylon cyclone and Marple) and non-size-selective samplers. The results demonstrate that the elemental carbon method is suitable for the railroad environment and the respirable combustible dust method is not. All elemental carbon concentrations measured were below the proposed ACGIH Threshold Limit Value (TLV®) of 0.15 mg/m3. The concentrations of oxides of nitrogen (nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide) were also found to be below their respective TLVs. There is no correlation between elemental carbon or respirable combustible dust ant the oxides of nitrogen. The elemental carbon as fraction of total carbon is about 13 percent, except for onboard locomotives where it is about 24 percent. Comparison of elemental carbon and respirable combustible dust measurements showed consistent relationship for most sampling locations, with respirable combustible dust concentrations 12 to 53 times higher than the elemental carbon levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)701-714
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999



  • Diesel Exhaust
  • Diesel Particulate Matter
  • Elemental Carbon
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Respirable Combustion Dust
  • Sampling and Analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this