The increasing industrial use of platinum-group elements (PGEs), namely Ir, Pd, Pt and Rh, and related allergies such as rhinitis, conjunctivitis, asthma, urticaria and contact dermatitis, have led to a growing need to monitor selected populations of exposed workers. In this study, the levels of PGEs were measured in indoor airborne particulate matter and in biological samples taken from employees of a plant where car catalytic converters are produced and precious metals are recovered from spent carbon catalysts. The development of an analytical procedure based on quadrupole inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (Q-ICP-MS) for the analysis of PGEs in airborne particulate matter and on sector field inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (SF-ICP-MS) for the analysis of PGEs in blood, serum, urine and hair is described. For airborne particulate matter deposited on filters, the limits of detection (LoDs) were found to be 0.006 ng m-3, 0.020 ng m-3, 0.018 ng m-3 and 0.006 ng m-3 for Ir, Pd, Pt and Rh, respectively. Repeatability of measurements ranged from 1.8 to 8.5%, while recovery was in the range from 92 to 102%. For biological samples LoDs in blood, serum, urine and hair ranged from (in ng l-1) 0.2-0.6 for Ir, 5-10 for Pd, 1-3 for Pt and 2-3 for Rh. For all biological materials, the repeatability varied from 1.1 to 12% for the four elements. Recovery data for the determination of PGEs in biological matrices were found to range from 84.0 to 107.8%. The method was applied to the determination of either total or respirable airborne PGEs collected from five different work areas in the plant. The difference between areas with high and low exposure correlates closely with metal levels in hair, blood and urine. The correlation coefficients between Pt in airborne particulate matter and Pt in biological materials was 0.994, 0.991 and 0.970 for blood, hair and urine, respectively.
- Airborne particulate matter
- Exposed workers
- Platinum-group elements (PGE)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry