XRD solutions for respirable silica monitoring

In spite of the global economic downturn due to COVID-19, companies within Australia are still continuing to invest in their employees’ health and safety. This is through the investment of Malvern Panalytical’s Aeris compact and powerful X-ray diffractometer for the monitoring of respirable crystalline silica. Companies including service laboratories are leveraging on Malvern Panalytical’s XRD solutions for sensitive, accurate quantification so that they can make timely decisions to limit their employees’ exposure to respirable silica.

The increase in silicosis within Australia has become a widespread concern in the media as well as among health and safety regulators. Silicosis is a serious disease when crystalline silica nanoparticles are inhaled and deposited in the respiratory tract. Respirable silica is present during the mechanical treatment of silica. This could be quarrying, tunneling, brick and tile making, stone cutting, construction and demolition works, foundry work, grit and sandblasting, etc. These cause the nanoparticles of silica to be airborne and inhaled.

Historically, several analytical methods were used for the quantification of respirable silica, including atomic absorption, colorimetry, gravimetry, microscopy, infrared spectroscopy (IR) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). Most of those methods fell out due to low sensitivity. Nowadays, only IR and XRD are utilized for the respirable silica analyses, as the most sensitive methods allowing to comply with existing norms. Both methods have their pros and cons, but it is generally accepted that XRD is more accurate in identifying silica polymorphs. OSHA ID-142, for example, defines XRD as the only accurate technique for the quantification of crystalline silica in various types of industrial dust.

Find out how Malvern Panalytical’s XRD analytical solutions are able to comply with the stringent EPA and ISO norms. Learn about the capabilities of our XRD solutions and importantly why XRD is the technique of choice by regulatory bodies for the quantification of respirable silica.

Further reading