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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Hughs, Sidney
item Wakelyn, Phillip
item Rousselle, Marie
item Columbus, Eugene

Submitted to: Transactions of the ASAE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/18/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Cotton gins are minor sources of airborne particulates emitted during the ginning process. The physical and chemical nature of these particulate emissions are of concern to state and Federal environmental regulatory agencies. Data was taken on cottons from across the entire U.S. Cotton Belt as to the nature of the particulate emitted when ginning these cottons. It was found that the largest physical constituent of gin emissions is plant material, such as leaf and stick particles, followed by cotton fiber particles, with soil and water being the smallest constituents. The particulate emissions were analyzed chemically for toxic elements including arsenic, lead, and mercury. All of the elements occurred at very low levels and were generally attributed to what would be expected from native soil content. This data all indicates that the only emission of concern from cotton gins is PM10 particulate, of which cotton gins are generally a minor source

Technical Abstract: Seed cotton from producers in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas was ginned at either the Stoneville or Mesilla Park USDA, ARS Cotton Ginning Laboratories. Particulate emissions during ginning were sampled from the exhausts of the unloader separator and the first lint cleaner. Proximate and X-ray fluorescence analyses were performed on the emission particulate sampled from both exhausts and the particulate captured by the unloader cyclone. Proximate analyses showed that the largest constituent of gin emissions is noncellulosic plant material (range of 43 to 66%), followed by cellulose (range of 17 to 40%), with the remainder being inorganic soil particles and water. X-ray fluorescence was used to determine the level of 19 different elements including arsenic, lead, and mercury. None of these elements occurred at levels of any concern in meeting either EPA or OSHA regulations and could be attributed primarily to native soil content of th harvested seed cotton.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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