Air pollution from saws and machinery

castanea

Member
I'm just wondering if anyone has looked into this themselves. I spend all day running a chainsaw or operating a diesel Kubota (we do land clearing for power lines) and want to look into this. I know exposure isn't that high, but it's chronic and over a career, and at higher levels than most people. Looking forward to large electric saws if they ever really happen.

This is about urban exposure, but anything to do with south Asia is 2-stroke vehicle pollution
 

Leroy

Well-Known Member
"The studies showed these workers were more likely to develop lung cancer than workers who were not exposed to diesel emissions. These studies provide strong evidence that long-term occupational exposure to diesel exhaust increases the risk of lung cancer."
https://oehha.ca.gov/air/health-effects-diesel-exhaust

"Workers using chain saws (and brush saws) are exposed to benzene and 1,3-butadiene which are considered to be known human carcinogens. Very few chemicals are so classified. Polyaromatic hydrocarbons, several of which are suspect human carcinogens, are also in the exhaust mix as is carbon monoxide."
https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/publications/00012/3-Dost-PowersawEmissions.pdf
 
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ghostice

Well-Known Member
Cross post to this older thread:
Chainsaw exhaust and operator exposures has been studied and described extensively in Industrial Hygiene literature (as well as documents produced by Occupational Safety branches of various governments around the world):
to get started (see the sidebars too).
If you're really interested in following up, you can often go to your local university library or med school library and see if they carry the journal - even if they don't some will order a copy of the paper for you.
PubMed searches are also useful for peer reviewed papers - e.g. (again see the sidebars/ suggested papers):
About fuel quality in chainsaws, this has a large effect on emissions - though regular gasolines (as opposed to alkylate fuels) do not contain as much benzene as in the past (so watch out for older studies floating around or broadbrush general comments based on old facts).
Cross post to older thread:
Summary: (diesel particulates, oxides of nitrogen, CO, hydrocarbons incl. benzene, noise, hand/arm vibration, wood dust, fungal plant pathogens, bird or rodent droppings, slips. trips and falls and traffic, fuel tank vapour exposure during re-fuelling trucks, chippers, etc, plant irritants). In short there's lots of potential exposures in tree work generally.
If anyone has specific questions, I'd be happy to help if I can.
Cheers all.

Addenda/ Edit: I had a look this May weekend at some of the papers cited in the BC Forestry .pdf cited above:
"Workers using chain saws (and brush saws) are exposed to benzene and 1,3-butadiene which are considered to be known human carcinogens. Very few chemicals are so classified. Polyaromatic hydrocarbons, several of which are suspect human carcinogens, are also in the exhaust mix as is carbon monoxide."
https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/publications/00012/3-Dost-PowersawEmissions.pdf"

Just wanted to re-iterate again that some of the comments on fuels are based on some papers from 1987-ish timeframe which means that the acual work was probably done a year or two earlier - i.e. in the mid 1980's. Gasoline then, and I can speak for Canada here because I was part of large multi-million dollar industry wide studies of gasoline and benzene conducted in Canada and in the US, was a very different beast than it is in current day in N. America. At that time, there was about 5 to 10% w/w benzene content in gasoline (and in some cases slightly higher) - nowadays there is very little benzene at all in gasolines - rather it is used as a petrochemical feedstock. I find some of this chainsaw operator exposure information interesting from a historical perspective, but it needs updating - seriously!
 
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ghostice

Well-Known Member
Thanks - in reality, most of the time though, I'd just be happy if the ground guys would keep their brain buckets on their noggins and safety glasses on for the whole job . . . . . sigh. Long way to go.
 
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