Air Sampling

Published: | Updated: February 20, 2019

Definition - What does Air Sampling mean?

Air sampling is the process of capturing contaminants in a known volume of air. The airborne contaminants are measured and compared against the volume of air, and the results are stated as a concentration, usually as milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3) or parts per million (ppm).

There are two main types of air sampling that can be conducted to estimate the level of workers' exposure to a certain contaminant – stationary or area monitoring, and personal chemical exposure monitoring. Personal exposure monitoring measures an individual employee's exposure to a chemical or contaminant and area monitoring measures the concentration of a substance in a given area.

Safeopedia explains Air Sampling

Levels of airborne contaminants can be compared with the following guidelines and standards:

  • Permissible exposure limit (PEL) which are promulgated by the OSHA and are legally enforceable. PELs are 8-hour, time-weighted averages of airborne exposure.
  • Threshold limit value (TLV), which are guidelines developed by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) and are published annually by that organization. Like PELs, TLVs are also 8-hour, time-weighted averages.
  • Recommended exposure level (REL) are developed by NIOSH. These levels are the exposures that, in the judgement of NIOSH, will not cause adverse health effects in most workers.
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