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Sampling Airborne Contaminants

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Airborne disease is any disease transmitted through air by inhaling the molecules which contain pathogen. The bacteria ride in dust and on inhaling the dust with the bacteria one is infected. Coughing, sneezing and close personal contact with an infected person can transmit the disease to another person. An example of airborne disease is cholera.  In sampling contaminant one should be more careful to avoid transmission, since the disease can be transferred through inhaling air with pathogens. In taking a sample of the contaminant from a group of 20 employees in a 3000 square feet house one should take into consideration the following areas: where to sample, whom to sample, how long to sample , how many samples to take and lastly when to take the sample.


In a group of 20 workers not all of them will be sampled. The samples of five employees will be enough to begin with and then contact the others later, and this will be done faster since the room has ventilation and cooling devices, and this can spread the disease outside. The samples of five employees will be taken to laboratory for analysis. The people to be sampled will not be forced unless all the workers refuse to volunteer for the service. The results of the lab test will determine if the workers have a disease or are at risk of getting the disease.

Contaminants are not spread in the whole office, but they are to be found in certain places. The contaminants are mainly found in emission areas, so samples can be obtained from such sources. There are two methods to carry out air sampling and those include personal or static monitoring. The most preferred method is personal sampling, and it includes taking air samples from individual’s breathing zone. The breathing zone is the main source to collect air samples from an individual. Breathing zone is 30 cm. radius of mouth and nose. The device to collect the sample is placed at the collar of the shirt as high as possible to ensure that the collected air is inhaled by the worker. In this case the five workers to be sampled will be taken in different place, one at time to ensure that there is no mixture of air. If the results of the first five workers will be appropriate, it will not be necessary to sample another group. Personal sampling is the appropriate method for sampling the workers since static sampling does not give appropriate results. It is good for testing the effectiveness of preservative and control measures when incorporated.

The sample will be taken in a period of 8 hours in order to get appropriate results. There are samples which need only 10 minutes to take but in this case the sample should take the maximum required period. The samples which are taken in the period from 10 to 15 minutes are substances which have little health effects. The substance which is harmful and has chronic health effects takes a period of 8 hours. In order to reduce time and cost the five workers should be enough to reflect the results of others (Pepper and Evans, 1992).

While taking samples one should consider some factors like humidity, air direction, temperature and then production timetable. The test of the five workers should be taken during the afternoon. In the morning hours there is more work to do and many customers are to be served, so it will create a big loss to the organization to take the sample during morning hours when the business is in the pick. The sample should not be taken during windy time, because the office has ventilation and the samples taken will be contaminated with other air particles hence there will be received inappropriate results. The health of the workers to be tested should be considered. The workers suffering from other diseases should be not tested.

There many operations to be used while making the sample. The appropriate operation is sampling trained method. This consists of a battery operated pump, connecting tube and sampling media. This device gives the appropriate results effectively since it is easy to use. The pump is set in a way to be able to pump the air at a constant rate for about 8 hours without failing. This is because the sample for hazardous contaminant should take 8 hours. Passive monitoring is a device which allow the air to move without being pumped, and it relies on diffusion to perform the task. Passive monitoring is easy to use and it is not much expensive to purchase. It transfers the contaminant from air to collector and this transfer depends on concentration gradient (Pepper and Evans, 1992).

There is the sampling media which assists in sampling of the contaminant. The sampling is done by pumping the air to pass through a media which traps the contaminant. The trap can be a filter paper or a container with water or a chemical reagent. Charcoal tube traps the molecules of gases into surface. When air is passed along the tube, the chemical in the tube assists in trapping molecules in the surface and determine the sample of the contaminant. Charcoal tubes are good for sampling gases, and this makes them appropriate to be used in this experiment. Cyclone separates large and small particles of air, and is used to separate the air from the contaminants. The air moves in the cyclone with a circular motion and in this process the contaminants are left while the air passes. After the process the filter paper’s weight can be measured to determine the amount of contaminant obtained. The air is passed through a glass impinger or bubbler which contains chemical. The presence of contaminant is marked by change in the color of the chemical or presence of residue. Those equipments assist in sampling and they will be appropriate in the sampling of the 20 employees.


Airborne diseases are easily transmitted, and they should be treated immediately after catching an infection. In work place all employees should be sampled to identify the number of employees infected. Prevention measures should be developed to reduce spreading rate. All individuals in working areas should be willing to be tested in order to prevent transmission of the infection.

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