Inside: acetamiprid exposure, silicosis, diacetyl measurement and 3D printing emissions

Testing and Monitoring eBulletin

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Welcome to your new-look Testing and Monitoring eBulletin

HSE is evolving the way it supports organisations. To help you better distinguish between the different types of support we offer we have extended the HSE brand.

Our core offer remains unchanged: we will continue to provide Guidance and Research on our main website to help you comply with your obligations under health and safety law. 

However, we also offer a range of other products and services that you may wish to invest in to help with your management of health and safety. 

HSL products and services are now offered under the HSE brand. 

These include: 
Publications and ProductsTraining and EventsTesting and MonitoringResearch and Consultancy.

 Acetamiprid case study

Acetamiprid case study

Working with our clients to develop a new method for assessing worker exposure to the pesticide acetamiprid.

Biomonitoring can help employers to assess chemical exposure to their staff; thus helping to fulfil their obligations under COSHH regulations.Typically, it involves measuring a substance, or its metabolite, in urine.

We were contacted last year by a client seeking to monitor workers exposed to acetamiprid – a crop protection product belonging to the neonicotinoid class of pesticides. As a relatively new product, there was limited scientific knowledge available. A few days’ work by one of our highly skilled development chemists enabled us to offer a reliable method, able to quantify acetamiprid and its metabolite in urine at sufficiently low levels.

Subsequently, in partnership with different clients, we further developed the method and now have good data for optimum sampling time (relative to exposure) and we are beginning to build up data for typical levels arising from exposure scenarios.

We can use the 90% level approach to determine what is achievable, using good exposure control practice. This work has helped our clients to better understand exposure of their employees to acetamiprid and it can form a basis for further improvements to reducing exposure.

We are keen to investigate new chemicals and, in some cases, it may be appropriate to work in partnership with clients to develop new methods that help them to monitor and control their workplace exposure.

This also enables us to generate data and knowledge that we can disseminate widely through scientific meetings and publications to further promote the use of biomonitoring and to better understand and interpret the data being produced.


Development of a new method for the measurement of diacetyl

HSE’s Veronica Brown and Ian Pengelly have produced a recent article on; Workplace Monitoring of Airborne Diacetyl and 2,3-Pentanedione Using Thermal Desorption Tubes and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry.

Diacetyl is a potentially harmful chemical that is used as an artificial flavouring in the food industry and may also be generated during processing of some natural products including coffee. Ian has also worked with colleagues from HSE and National University of Ireland, Galway to examine diacetyl exposures in the coffee industry.  This paper was the Editor’s Choice for the May 2019 issue of the journal, Annals of Work Exposures and Health.

A sensitive new measurement method for diacetyl, and the related compound 2,3-pentanedione has been developed and evaluated. The sample tubes are suitable for both active (pumped) and passive (diffusive) sampling. (Read the publication). This is a service offered by our Analytical Chemistry team.

NIOSH, in the US, has also conducted research on Chemicals in Flavourings; NIOSH investigations have shown that sufficient levels of work-related exposure to certain chemical vapours in flavourings can cause severe, irreversible lung disease.

These chemicals, diacetyl and its closely related substitute 2,3-pentanedione, can be added to flavourings like the butter in microwave popcorn. The disease, technically called obliterative bronchiolitis, is sometimes called “popcorn lung” because scientists originally described it in workers who manufactured microwave popcorn.’ Read the NIOSH article.


The HSE Science and Research Centre

New video - 'Science, policy & public opinion: how the wheels turn'

George Loizou, from the HSE Science and Research Centre discusses the relationship between science, industry and public policy in a new video.

He explains how scientists should translate their findings for the general public in a clear and understandable manner, and the importance of building a strong relationship with policymakers and the industry. 

Find out more about our publications, case studies and work with industry, both research and services on our website.


Silica dust exposure

Epidemiology of silicosis:
reports from the SWORD scheme in the UK from 1996 to 2017

Silicosis is a rare complication of short-term exposure to very large amounts of silica. This condition is life-threatening and associated with very significant clinical consequences.

HSE’s Centre for Workplace Health team have produced an article on the ‘Epidemiology of silicosis: reports from the SWORD scheme in the UK from 1996 to 2017’. This document includes the demographic risk factors of workers reported to have Silicosis in the UK. Read more.

For more about exposure to Silica in the workplace please see our previous (March) E-Bulletin.


3D printing

3D Printing Research Report

The British Safety Council has an article on the company Kora 3D Impex Parts Limited and their printing technology:

Recent research by HSE found that 3D printers emit many particles of a size range that could potentially enter the airways and lungs’.
Read more on the British Safety Council's website.

HSE’S Samantha Hall, Ian Pengelly, James Staff, Neil Plant and Gareth Evans have produced research and now a written report on ‘Measuring and controlling emissions from polymer filament desktop 3D printers.’

Affordable desktop 3D printers are widely used in businesses, schools and colleges. Some of these printers use filaments to deposit polymer through a heated nozzle to build three dimensional objects.
This type of desktop printer is generally unenclosed and some published studies have raised concerns that they may release potentially harmful fumes and particles.   

This report describes initial research in a laboratory setting to:
a) measure emissions of particulates and volatile organic compounds from desktop 3D printers and
b) investigate the effectiveness.
You can read the full HSE report here.

Samantha Hall and Gareth Evans recently delivered a presentation in Coventry on ‘Health and Safety in Advanced Manufacturing’, some of which involves similar technology to 3D printing.


Relevant training courses in May, June and July 2019




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