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Emission characteristics and probabilistic health risk of volatile organic compounds from solvents in wooden furniture manufacturing

Tong, Ruipeng, Zhang, Lei, Yang, Xiaoyi, Liu, Jiefeng, Zhou, Peining, Li, Jianfeng
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.208 pp. 1096-1108
Monte Carlo method, alkanes, benzene, breathing, decision making, drying, emissions, esters, ethylbenzene, exposure duration, furniture, health effects assessments, health hazards, ketones, managers, manufacturing, methylene chloride, mixing, models, occupational health and safety, risk, risk management, solvents, uncertainty analysis, veneering, volatile organic compounds, wood processing, working conditions
The sources, levels and health risks of volatile organic compounds emitted from the entire furniture manufacturing process in workshops were investigated. A probabilistic health assessment model was established to estimate the health risks of workers and managers caused by VOCs (volatile organic compounds) based on the inhalation risk model and the Monte Carlo method. Sensitivity analyses and uncertainty analyses were implemented to screen out the crucial input parameters and to identify the possible influential factors in the evaluation process. The results demonstrate that the highest concentration of VOCs occurs in the topcoating process, followed by the veneering, undercoating, edge bonding, polishing varnish, drying, and paint mixing processes. Overall, a total of 17 VOCs, including aromatic hydrocarbons, alkanes, halogenated alkanes, ketones, and saturated aliphatic esters, exist in 7 VOC emission processes in the wood processing workshop and the painting workshop. For health impacts, workers in the topcoating, undercoating, and veneering positions suffer the greatest carcinogenic risks, with mean values above 1.00E-05, which mainly originate from ethylbenzene, dichloromethane, and benzene. The carcinogenic risks in other positions are relatively lower and are in the sequence of polishing varnish, paint mixing, drying, and edge bonding. Sensitivity analyses indicated that exposure duration had the greatest impact on carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risk, with an average contribution of 0.78 and 0.93, respectively. These comprehensive evaluations for exposure level and health risk can yield insight into the occupational hazards of VOC emissions and will contribute to informed decision-making related to abatement measures and risk management in furniture manufacturing workplaces.