Date of Award

Summer 2017

Degree Type

Non-Thesis Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Industrial Hygiene

Committee Chair

Dan Autenrieth

First Advisor

Theresa Stack


Military aircraft routinely operate in harsh, corrosive environments that necessitate aggressive maintenance methods and products to prevent deterioration. Three primary tasks associated with corrosion control of these aircraft are abrasive blasting, sanding, and primer paint application. The most frequently used primer paints for these applications contain chromium VI (Cr VI) in the form of barium chromate and strontium chromate. Due to aircraft size and the nature of these tasks, control of Cr VI exposures is often difficult.

Numerous studies of chromate related industries have identified worker exposures in excess of the OSHA PEL of 5 μg/m3. Long-term analysis of chromate workers with known Cr VI exposures levels have shown elevated risk of mortality due to lung cancer. These evaluations highlight the importance of multi-layered control systems to reduce Cr VI exposure levels.

This goal of this study was to investigate occupational inhalation exposures to Cr VI during worker performed tasks for corrosion control for military aircraft. Sample results for three primary tasks, abrasive blasting, sanding, and primer (paint) application, were obtained at a major military aircraft maintnance facility. These results were evaluated to determine if the exposure distribution allowed for establishment of Similar Exposure Groups (SEGs) within the department.

The results of this study found Cr VI exposures above the OSHA PEL occurred in each task, but that the mean exposures of each task were not significantly different. A high degree of variability was observed in the overall sample set and the individual tasks. Statistical analysis of the obtained data failed to justify separating the sampled tasks into separate SEGs. Despite these findings, a high probability of overexposure exists to workers at this facility regardless of the task conducted.


A report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Industrial Hygiene Distance Learning / Professional Track