Breathe Easy: ARA Scientist Awarded Patent on Product that is Saving American Workers’ LungsJanuary 2013
Geoffrey Aiken, Senior Engineer
The DPM is a wearable device that measures elemental carbon (EC) to provide accurate, real-time readings of diesel particulate matter exposure. The DPM is currently used by miners and safety officers to help ensure they do not exceed the exposure limits set by Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Before the DPM, determining diesel particulate exposure relied on measuring the overall amount of particulate collected and then averaging that amount over the sample time period. Referred to as the NIOSH 5040 method, results take two to three weeks and those results do not provide any information on fluctuations during the sample time – fluctuations that can put workers at significantly higher exposure levels due to malfunctioning or improperly configured equipment or ventilation.
Portable DPM ready to wear and save lives
A recent study by Abt Associates found that the toll from diesel particulate exposure alone is 21,000 deaths annually in the U.S. – as well as 27,000 non-fatal heart attacks, 410,000 asthma attacks, and 2.4 million lost work days – with a total economic cost of $139 billion. The study also found that nationally, diesel exhaust poses a cancer risk that is 7.5 times higher than the combined total cancer risk from all other air toxics. (Clean Air Task Force, 2005). Annual deaths from diesel particulate exposure in America exceed deaths due to drunk driving and homicide combined.
At ARA, Aiken and his group continue to support the DPM, while using cutting-edge technologies including 3D scanning and Rocky Mountain Division’s rapid prototyping machine to transform concepts into products that meet evolving government and commercial needs. “We come to work just to do this, just to develop new solutions and increase understanding with the hope that we can change things for the better, and ARA provides us with the tools that we need.” To see how you can partner with world-class ARA engineers like Geoffrey Aiken, contact ARA Shock Physics Division or our Corporate Headquarters.