Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1987;13(5):424-430    pdf


Ventilation and organic solvent exposure during car washing.

by Niemela R, Pfaffli P, Harkonen H

Spray finishing operations often involve cleaning with solvents. White spirit is widely used as a solvent in car washes in Finland. The purpose of the present study was to determine the levels of solvent exposure of car washers and to evaluate the effectiveness of ventilation systems in car washing facilities. The study covered 11 car washes. Airborne solvent concentrations were measured both in workers' breathing zones and at stationary sampling sites. The solvent concentration in the breathing zones ranged from 5 to 465 mg/m3 during the washing of automobiles and from 45 to 685 mg/m3 during the washing of heavy vehicles. Brief concentration peaks up to 4,500 mg/m3 were detected. The flow rate of ventilation air ranged from 0.3 to 3.9 m3/s. The greatest reduction in solvent concentration in the workers' breathing zones was attained with a ventilation design where the supply air jets blew directly into the work zone.