VOC emissions during outdoor ship painting and health risk assessment

Abstract : Painting of ship external surfaces in building or repair shipyards generates significant emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) to the atmosphere. Such emissions have not been specifically regulated so far. The purpose of our study is therefore to evaluate the quantities and as far as possible the nature of the emitted VOC, to characterize the dispersion of these chemicals in the atmosphere and to assess the exposure and resulting health risks for surrounding populations. This study is focused on VOC emitted during outdoor work involving use of paints and solvents. VOC emissions are diffuse, since they come from the whole painted surfaces. A methodology for quantifying them is developed and tested, using information provided by ALSTOM-Chantiers de l'Atlantique and data found in paint technical sheets. Its reliability is checked against emission values established by ALSTOM or found in literature. Then, for two particular situations, construction on one hand, repair on the other hand, atmospheric dispersion of total VOC is simulated to assess the long-term impact (characterized by the plume extension and the annual mean concentrations) of these compounds. Finally, a health-risk assessment based on the estimates is carried out to evaluate the risks by inhalation for people living near the site. Considering the presumed composition of paints and the available reference toxicological values, total VOC are entirely assimilated to toluene. In both examples (construction and repair) and in the current state of knowledge, the calculated risk is not of health concern. Several ways for taking this study further are proposed : a more exhaustive collection of data relative to VOC and other substances contained in paints, on-site measurement of VOC in the ambient air, characterization of diffuse emissions related to other activities, such as purging or welding, and other pollutants, like particles.
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Laure Malherbe, Corinne Mandin. VOC emissions during outdoor ship painting and health risk assessment. Atmospheric environment, Elsevier, 2007, 41 (30), pp.6322-6330. ⟨10.1016/j.atmosenv.2007.02.018⟩. ⟨ineris-00963077⟩

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