Workplace Dust Monitoring

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) there are ‘13,000 deaths each year in Great Britain estimated to be linked to past exposure at work, primarily to chemicals and dust’. Employers are responsible for their employees to ensure that no one is exposed to poor air quality in the work place or other harmful fumes and chemicals.


By conducting regular air quality monitoring on site employers demonstrate compliance with the relevant regulations and can also check exposure levels to help identify safe working practices. This is done by comparing collected monitoring data with Work place exposure limits (WELS) which provide the maximum exposure level to a hazardous substance over a set period.

It is not recommended that GFA filters are used when analysis of Heavy metal content on dust samples is required, this is due to the fact that GFA filters have an inherent high level of heavy metals in their makeup.

According to ISO 7708 or BS EN 4812, aerosol fractions (aerosol being any suspension of particles in air – constituting either dust, fibres, fume, smoke or liquid) can be roughly placed in to three categories:


Inhalable fraction – the fraction of airborne material entering the nose and mouth during breathing – depositing anywhere in the respiratory tract.

Thoracic fraction – This airborne material penetrates beyond the larynx

Respirable fraction – this material penetrates to the lower gas exchange region of the lung.


It is no surprise then that the inhalation of these particles can lead to lung irritation, aggravation of chronic lung disease, loss of airway function, or increased susceptibility to viral and bacterial pathogens leading to pneumonia for example.

MSSL provides a full range of services for aerosol fractions and gravimetric analysis. Depending on which fraction is to be measured, we provide all sampling media and filters and once returned to the laboratory carry out analysis as required.


At MSSL we do not recommend the use of Mixed cellulose ester (MCE) filters for dust sampling, due to a tendency for those to hold static charge, which can cause unstable measurements on the analytical balance.