An analysis of the suspended particulate matter in the stone quarry industry: the case of KAS stone quarry

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The suspended particulate matter (SPM) at the KAS Stone Quarry has been analysed. The work aimed at analysing the exposure to airborne SPM and its physical and chemical properties, particularly the total mass concentration of SPM and its lead and Free Crystalline Silica (FCS) contents. The analysis was aimed at determining the quantity, frequency and duration of exposure to these compounds and assessing the health risk associated with exposure. Using the method of gravimetry, the mass concentration of SPM was found to be higher than the recommended 230 micron by the EPA. The silicomolybdic acid test was used to determine the concentration of FCS in the SPM. The concentration relative to the levels of SPM was higher than the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) tentative recommended value of 4OimJm3. Using Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS), the levels of lead were lower than that recommended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the USA. Thus there is a real risk of exposure to SPM and FCS. The key recommendation to respond to the findings among others includes the establishment of standards relevant to the local situation and the development of effective enforcement procedures and plans by the collaborative effort of the EPA, TUC and Employers Association. It is also recommended that there should be the development of health assessment procedures and upgrading of the level of safety training and education in the industry. The study identified for further research an improvement of the method of SPM sizing and studies on SPM in the general work environment.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Chemistry, College of Science, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science degree in Analytical Chemistry, 2001