IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Exploratory evaluation of occupational exposure to chemicals and organic contaminants in biomethanation plants for putrescible organic matter


Biomethanation is an anaerobic process for converting putrescible organic matter (POM) into biogas, a renewable energy, and digestate, a product used in agricultural fertilization.

Despite the multiplication of POM processing sites, the occupational exposure of biomethanation workers has been little documented. However, the existing studies show that workers may be exposed to organic and chemical contaminants at different stages of the process.

This research is an exploratory evaluation of the ambient exposure of workers assigned to the biomethanation of POM. The researchers intend to measure concentrations of pathogenic and total micro-organisms, total and specific volatile organic compounds, certain metals and gases, and dust present in these processing sites. They will also assess the potential occupational health risk of the concentrations obtained.

The findings will be used to improve operating methods in new plants and propose industrial hygiene plans to assess compliance with exposure standards.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 2013-0013
Status: Completed
Year of completion: 2018
  • Jacques Lavoie (IRSST)
  • Geneviève Marchand (IRSST)
  • Caroline Duchaine (Centre de recherche de l'IUCPQ)
  • Yves Cloutier (IRSST)
  • Joseph Zayed (Université de Montréal)