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HAPPA (Survey of occ. exposure)

The project Survey of occupational exposure of importance in developing occupational asthma by production of primary aluminium (HAPPA) started 1st June 2002 and terminated 1st April 2008.  Participating companies:

  • Elkem Aluminium
  • Hydro Aluminium
  • Alcan ß ═slandi
  • Kubikenborg Aluminium
  • Nor­urßl
  • S°r-Norge Aluminium
  • Vigeland Metal Refinery

In the connection with the determining of new indicative limits (i.e. fluoride and SO2) the general assembly of AMS decided in April 2002 to accomplish the project to survey occupational exposure in developing  occupational asthma.  Occupational asthma is still a problem for the industry.  AMS wants to put great focus on this matter.

Reduction of diseases in the respiratory organs among operators in the aluminium industry.


  • Use modern equipment to survey which factors of exposure, which may be important for occurrence and development of occupational asthma.
  • Examine the importance of technology and operational parameters in the pot rooms when it comes to occupational exposure.
  • Work out a new, modern sampling and analysis program for routine monitoring of the operators in the pot rooms.
  • Use this routine program at the aluminium smelters.
  • Arrange that the planned changes of the indicative limits for fluorides and SO2 from the Norwegian authorities will be based on scientific research, which may give directions for more relevant limits for the aluminium industry.
  • Clarify whether free existing nano particles are an actual approach near the bath melt of the pot rooms.  If this is the case, decide the exposure to these nano particles because such free nano particles  have relatively great irritating/reactive surface per mass unit.
  • Examine the efficiency of personal safety equipment in practical use since the efficiency may be considerably reduced for nano particles.

The work environment institute of Norway (STAMI) will do the practical work in the project and is responsible for all sampling and analysis in cooperation with AMS and the participants of the industry.


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as per 27th June 2008

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Measurements of exposure in this part of the HAPPA project are finished. We wanted to characterise the exposure for ultrafine particles in the pot rooms during production of primary aluminium.  Ultrafine particles are very small particles with a diameter less than 0,1 Ám.

The project has by this put focus on a new and important approach for the aluminium industry.

This report deals with:

  • Ultrafine particles in the environment were measured on different places in the S°derberg and prebake pot rooms at Hydro Aluminium Karm°y.
  • The total number concentration and the number size distribution were measured.
  • Concentration was 20 000 particles per cm3 in one Prebake area and up to 10 times higher top concentrations during anode changing.
  • The S°derberg area had more general pollution for ultrafine particles (80 000 particles per cm3).
  • Such ultrafine particles have not earlier been proven in the aluminium industry.
  • These ultrafine particles are respirable and penetrate therefore far down into the lungs. 
  • Facts on ultrafine particles:
    • Particles covering size range below  100 nm
    • Form from gaseous precursors by gas to particle conversion
    • Special occupational hazard related to the large specific surface area

This part of the project in testing safety masks is now completed. In this part five different safety masks in use have been tested.  How good a mask is in use is called efficiency in use.  This is given by comparing measurements inside the masks with measurements outside the masks.

The project has with this executed a study which for a long time has been desirable to the industry.


  • The masks which have been tested are: 
    • 3M 7500 (P3 mask)
    • 3M 4277 (P3 mask)
    • Sundstr÷m SR 100 (P3 mask)
    • 3M 9926 (P2 mask)
    • Airstream (P2 mask)
  • Dust on the filter was collected and weighed and fluoride content in the dust was stipulated. Sour gases as SO2 and HF were also examined.
  • The levels of the sour gases SO2 and HF were to low for any conclusions to be drawn.
  • The figures in this study are not that comprehensive that one can draw any conclusions, but one is able to get some good indications (see table):
    • Masks with P3 classification have better efficiency in use than masks with P2 classification for dust and fluoride.
    • The mask 3M 7500 shows a bit better efficiency in use than the other types of masks.

Facts on safety masks:

  • Are classified according to international standards (P2 and P3 masks).
  • Shall protect user against pollution of particles, gases and vapour to penetrate the airways.
  • The requirements of total leakage are greater for P3 than for P2 masks.

Efficiency of use in % of mass on filter (dust)


Compared to












 Progress in the project

  • Samples are collected from the aluminium plants at Lista, in Mosj°en, at Husnes, at Karm°y, in ┼rdal and in H°yanger.
  • Appr. 4 200 samples have been taken. Of these about 15 000 analyses are done.
  • The efficiency of the filter of safety masks during use, has been measured and a report was given in June 2004.
  • Plant specific reports are under preparation.
  • Model of the exposure to nanoparticles is completed.   A newletter no. 3 is produced from the prosject.  The subject is Formation and existence of ultrafine particles in production of aluminium.
  • A total report for the whole aluminium industry is available in Norwegian.
    Abstract in English               The report may be ordered from
    send e-mail to
  • A report for exposure of Be by production of primary aluminium is available in Norwegian.
    Abstract in English                 The report may be ordered from
    send e-mail to

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