Q) Why is there so much emphasis on Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) exposure?
A) The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared in 2012 that particulate matter from diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), based on sufficient evidence that exposure is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer.
Q) Is it possible that exposure to DPM will be regarded as being as potentially hazardous to the health of individuals as is now the case with asbestos and lead based paints?
A) According to the World Health Organisation classification – YES – This is why many organisations are now ensuring that monitoring is in place in environs like tunnels, underground mines and workshops where diesel engines are expelling potentially harmful DPM.
Q) How does the Pinssar Reader decrease company risk?
A) Pinssar has developed the 24/7 interval sampling Reader, with a long term data storage solution enabling entities to prove they met and or exceeded industry guidelines and standards in relation to DPM exposure. Near real time reporting and data enable effective and timely decision making and helps protect companies from claims of diesel particulate matter exposures, now and into the future.
Q) Why is Pinssar’s air monitoring device superior?
A) The particle size range for DPM is less than 800 nanometers (nm). Other air monitoring technology measures particle size ranges larger than this, or require considerable maintenance efforts to maintain operability in harsh environments.
Q) Can Pinssar’s technology provide reports and data 24/7?
A) YES. Information can also be stored and presented in graphs with access also to historical data.
Q) How is the data delivered?
A) Via configurable communications onto the Laptop, desktop, IPad and Mobile /Cell phone anywhere in the world.
Q) Where are Pinssar’s products developed?
A) All products are designed, developed, and manufactured in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Q) Apart from mining and underground mines in particular what other environs is Pinssar focussed on air monitoring?
A) Pinssar’s Air Monitoring technology is sold and supported by business partners in a number of markets where diesel engines expel diesel particulate matter – These include tunnels, workshops, and many other environs where ventilation is confined and diesel engines are engaged.
Q) Does Pinssar deliver its air monitoring technology for other international markets and for a broad range of projects outside Australia?
A) Yes, Pinssar has completed projects for companies outside of Australia and via integrators will continue to develop relationship and support the global market.
Q) What technique does the Pinssar Reader use to measure particles?
A) The Pinssar Reader uses Laser-light scattering photometry (LLSP) to measure particles. LLSP is an analytical technique for the measurement of particles based on the scattering of incident light by individual particles. A beam of polarised light is directed into a small volume through which air passes. Particles interacting with the light beam scatter the polarised light in accordance with established physical theories, depending on the wavelength of light, particle size, particle shape and particle refractive index. The scattered light is detected and the intensity of scattered light is related to the amount of particles in the sensing volume. The response of a Laser light scattering photometer is governed by some basic laws of physics, in particular the relationship between the wavelength of light used and the size of the particle, the shape of the particle and the particle refractive index. These are the key factors determining the size of the instrument response to a given mass of particles. If the particle size distribution varies or the shape of particles vary for a constant mass, the scattering response will change.
Q) How does the Pinssar Reader differentiate between DPM and sub-micron mineral dusts?
A) The Pinssar Reader uses a commercially-available NIOSH-tested cyclone inlet which provides a sharp cut point at 800nm equivalent aerodynamic diameter (EAD), even in atmospheres contaminated with high >3mg/m3 respirable particles. (Cauda, E., Sheehan, M., Gussman, R., Kenny, L., & Volkwein, J. (2014). An evaluation of sharp cut cyclones for sampling diesel particulate matter aerosol in the presence of respirable dust. Ann Occup Hyg, 58(8), 995-1005) The use of an 800nm EAD cut point reflects scientific consensus on the particle size distribution of diesel particulate matter and the absence of mechanically generated particles (such as silica, or coal dust) in sizes less than 1micron (μm) (1μm = 1000nm). This principle is widely accepted and utilised in the SKC Inc. Diesel Particulate Cassette employing a sapphire impactor for sampling diesel particulate matter in coal mines. The removal of all particles >800nm EAD, permits the EC analysis of the filter medium on the assumption that all Coal dust containing Elemental Carbon is removed prior to collection. Hence the EC levels on the filter are all derived from diesel particulate. The Pinssar Reader uses the same logic applied by SKC Inc., all particles less than 800nm EAD entering the Reader and present as solid particles in the laser beam (after sample conditioning @ 58o C) are treated as being from combustion sources, i.e. DPM.
Q) What sources of interference could affect the Pinssar Reader?
A) Sub-micron mineral dusts produced from high energy activities such as blasting will cause a positive interference to the Pinssar Reader. These events are clearly seen in the Pinssar Reader response and occur at predetermined times and typically are accompanied by periods of low occupation in the mine. Normally, the amount of mineral dusts in the sub-micron range in underground mining activities are sufficiently low as to not pose a significant positive bias.
Q) Does the Pinssar Reader measure Elemental Carbon(EC)?
A) Elemental carbon is both chemically and methodologically defined, that is, the actual amount of elemental carbon measured in a sample is dependent on the type of method used. If you are measuring an air concentration of EC and are comparing that value to the exposure standard, then the method used must also be in accordance with the exposure standard. Measuring EC by the US EPA IMPROVE method will give a different EC value than by NIOSH 5040. Further the Pinssar Reader does not provide a split between TC and EC, simply an estimation of the total mass of particles <800nm EAD present in the environment on a regular time history basis.
Q) How does the Pinssar Reader address issues such as long term zero drift?
A) To account for possible long-term drift, from progressive deterioration in laser power output, detector sensitivity or particle contamination over time, following every measurement, a sample of filtered particle free air (99.99% removal of particles down to 0.01μm), is first flushed through the Pinssar Reader and then a zero reading is taken. This value is subtracted from the sample reading to derive a true instrument response.
Q) What about other contaminants in mines?
A) Humidity can affect LLSP measurements, particularly where high humidity levels can result in condensation of water droplets or altering the properties of particles. Air sampled by the Pinssar Reader is heated to 60 degrees Celsius prior to entering the optical cell. This ensures a relative humidity of less than 60% is maintained in the optical cell, minimising errors potentially arising from extraneous water.
Q) How is the Pinssar Reader calibrated in the factory?
A) The calibration of the Pinssar Reader uses a thermal carbon agglomerate generator used in vehicle emission testing as a reference source so the response is a DPM equivalent mass. Pinssar recommends a yearly factory calibration.
Q) Can the Pinssar Reader be used in Underground Coal Mines?
A) Pinssar Reader is not certified intrinsically safe for underground coal mining environments.
Q) How many Pinssar Readers does a tunnel require?
A) It is project specific, however estimates range from every 350m to 1000m
Q) How many Pinssar Readers does a mine require?
A) It is project specific, however estimates range from 3 to 20
Q) What is the estimated general working life of the Pinssar Reader?
A) A minimum of 5 years is the estimated life, subject to an approved service regime.