In recent years, the exposure limits for numerous metals and metal compounds (e.g. beryllium and arsenic) have been lowered or re-established by the competent bodies and committees.
Arsenic compounds classed as category 1A and 1B carcinogens have an acceptable concentration of 0.83 µg/m3 in the respirable fraction (respirable dust fraction) and a tolerable concentration of 8.3 µg/m3. Beryllium currently has a workplace exposure limit of 0.06 µg/m3 in the respirable fraction and 0.14 µg/m3 in the inhalable fraction.
Arsenic is classed as acutely toxic in category 3 (if swallowed or inhaled) and is used in alloys and in the semiconductor industry. Beryllium is classed as acutely toxic in category 3 (if swallowed), acutely toxic in category 2 (if inhaled), carcinogenic in category 1B as well as irritating and sensitising. Beryllium is primarily used in beryllium alloys (e.g. aircraft construction).
Due to the high hazard potential for humans and the environment, it is essential to monitor these elements using analysis methods that are sensitive and robust with regard to the low assessment criteria.
The aim of this project was to use a next-generation atomic absorption spectrometer with graphite furnace technology to verify a valid and suitable measurement method for the metallic elements arsenic and beryllium and update it as a standard measurement method in the MGU (hazard identification measurement system of the accident insurance providers).
The method had to comply with the basic requirements of the technical rules for hazardous substances (TRGS) 402 and the standard DIN EN 482 as well as the specific requirements for metals and metalloids in accordance with EN/ISO 21832. Furthermore, the performance characteristics defined in various standards, for instance the minimum measurement range and measurement uncertainty, had to be considered.
In the analytical measurement method verified here (GFAAS) for the analysis of arsenic and its compounds as well as beryllium and its compounds, all validation steps were performed with consideration to DIN EN ISO 21832, DIN 32645 and DIN EN 482. The tests, for instance for determining the detection and quantitation limits, the analytical precision and recovery in relation to reference materials, are qualified by the graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometers for the analytic monitoring of the acceptable concentration of 0.83 µg/m3 in the respirable fraction and a tolerable concentration of 8.3 µg/m3 for arsenic and its compounds as well as for beryllium and its compounds with a workplace exposure limit of 0.06 µg/m3 in the respirable fraction and 0.14 µg/m3 in the inhalable fraction. The methods are suitable for monitoring arsenic and beryllium and their compounds in the workplace in accordance with TRGS 402. GFAAS is updated as a valid and suitable measurement method for the metals specified and as a standard measurement method in the MGU.
The arsenic method was published in July 2021 as DGUV-I-213-503. The validation of arsenic using the new GFAAS method has been verified in this project and was able to provide even better validation data. Furthermore, the method for arsenic is currently published as a new ISO standard (ISO/CD 6323-1). The improved validation data are considered there.
The beryllium method is published in the first issue of the IFA Folder 2022 (new edition of number 6300), and will be provided to AG Analytik, the working group of the BG RCI (German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the Raw Materials and Chemical Industry), for publishing as DGUV-I-213-513. The standard operating procedures for both elements will be stored in Qwiki.
metal workingType of hazard:
dangerous substances, work-related health hazardsCatchwords:
analytical methods, limit value, chemical working substancesDescription, key words:
Analytical methods, quality assurance, compliance with limit values, metallic elements