Airborne contaminants can present a significant threat to worker health and safety. Identification and quantification of these contaminants through air monitoring is an essential component of a health and safety program at a hazardous waste site or industrial facilty. Reliable measurements of airborne contaminants are useful for:
• Selecting personal protective equipment.• Delineating areas where protection is needed.• Assessing the potential health effects of exposure• Determining the need for specific medical monitoring.• Factors to consider when conducting air monitoring
• Strategies for assessing airborne contamination
• Instruments and sampling methods
The purpose of air monitoring is to identify and quantify airborne contaminants in order to determine thelevel of worker protection needed. Initial screening for identification is often qualitative, i.e., the contaminant, or the class to which it belongs, is demonstrated to be present but the determination of its concentration (quantification) must await subsequent testing. Two principal approaches are available for identifying and/or quantifying airborne contaminants:
• The onsite use of direct-reading instruments.• Laboratory analysis of air samples obtained by gas sampling beg, filter, sorbent, or wetcontaminant collection methods.