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Characterization of Endocrine Disruptors and Particulate Matter Emissions from Laser Cutting of Plastic Film in the TFT-LCD Industry

Category: Air Toxics

Volume: 17 | Issue: 6 | Pages: 1539-1549
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2016.04.0138
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Yun-Jung Chan1, Tzu-Hsuen Yuan2, Yao-Hui Tsai1, Ta-Chang Lin 1

  • 1 Department of Environmental Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 70101, Taiwan
  • 2 Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10617, Taiwan

Highlights

First research studying Endocrine Disruptor & particle from laser cutting process.
Phthalate (DEHP) of PAEs was identified in air contaminant from laser cutting.
Air pollutants increased when laser power increased, but no big change for DEHP.
For laser cutting, PC released more DEHP, and PET released more PAHs.
Laser cutter workers exposed to PAHs had an unacceptable cancer risk level.


Abstract

In the last five years laser cutting has been identified as one of the solutions for converting and shaping the plastic films used in the Thin Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Display (TFT-LCD) industry due to its positive effects on cost management. However, there has been quite limited information available with regard to the hazards of the air pollutants released during the laser cutting process, and in particular in relation to the real operations that occur in a factory. This is the first study that aims to assess the Endocrine Disruptors (EDs) and Particulate Matter (PM) emitted during the laser cutting process. Phthalate Esters (PAEs) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are the representative EDs in this research. The results indicate that the power of the laser and type of plastic significantly affect the composition of air pollutants. Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) of PAEs was identified in the Laser Generated Air Contaminants (LGACs) from both Polycarbonate (PC) and Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) films. DEHP was detected in the gas-phase LGACs of PC and PET at low, medium and high power (80 W, 160 W, 240 W), but not detected in the particle-phase LGACs of PC and PET, except when the laser was operated at a low power setting. With the laser power increased, the concentrations of PM and PAHs also increased. This research found that during laser cutting PC released more DEHP than PET, but PET released more PAHs than PC.

Keywords

Laser cutting Phthalate esters Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Particulate matter


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