Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Committee Chair

Julie Hart

First Advisor

Terry Spear

Second Advisor

Abhishek Choudhury


Exposure to diesel particulate matter from diesel exhaust has been shown to have adverse health effects in humans. In 2012 The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified diesel exhaust as a group 1 know human carcinogen. Because of the associated health effects, there has been a strong push to reduce the amount of diesel exhaust present in the mining industry. Biodiesel is one to the more common and promising control options used to reduce the amount of diesel particulate matter that is generated during fuel combustion. The use of biodiesel over petroleum diesel has been shown to reduce not only particulate matter, but hydro carbon and carbon monoxide mass emissions as well.

Personal and area samples were collected at an underground metal mine in the northwestern United States to evaluate the current blend of B70 biodiesel. The objective of this research was to evaluate the carbon levels associated with diesel particulate matter generated from the combustion of a B70 biodiesel. Data was also compared to past studies on which diesel particulate matter from petroleum diesel was evaluated.

Samples were taken on four separate four day campaigns between March and October of 2014. Area samples were taken from 7 different areas in the mine and personal samples were taken from a 20 person cohort. The equipment used for sampling was compliant with the NIOSH 5040 method. Statistical analysis of the results was done using Minitab 17 software. The statistical analysis showed that the total carbon concentrations from biodiesel were well below the MSHA exposure limit. Results also showed that organic/elemental carbon ratios were consistent with past studies as the concentrations of organic carbon were significantly higher than those of elemental carbon.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Industrial Hygiene