Special focus: Environmental and human exposure to nanomaterials

Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 11, Issue 8, pp 1867-1881

First online:

From workplace air measurement results toward estimates of exposure? Development of a strategy to assess exposure to manufactured nano-objects

  • Derk BrouwerAffiliated withFood and Chemical Risk Assessment, TNO Quality of Life Email author 
  • , Birgit van Duuren-StuurmanAffiliated withFood and Chemical Risk Assessment, TNO Quality of Life
  • , Markus BergesAffiliated withDGUV-BGIA
  • , Elzbieta JankowskaAffiliated withCIOP-PIB
  • , Delphine BardAffiliated withHealth and Safety Laboratory
  • , Dave MarkAffiliated withHealth and Safety Laboratory

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In the past few years, an increasing number of studies on workplace air measurements on manufactured nano-materials and -objects have been published. Most of the studies had a more explorative character, so a direct interpretation to workers” exposure for a given exposure situation, activity, or process is not a straight-forward process. In general, the studies use a quite similar package of devices for near real-time monitoring of particle number- and mass concentration in size ranges <100 nm up to 10 μm, and the collection of samples for off-line characterization of air samples. Various approaches for addressing background concentrations and its use to indicate the potential for exposure to nano-objects could be observed. Within the EU-sponsored NANOSH project, a harmonized approach for measurement strategy, data analysis and reporting was developed. In addition to time/activity–concentration profiles as reported by most studies, this approach enables a first step to estimate the potential for exposure to manufactured nano-objects, more quantitatively. The NANOSH data will be collated into a base, which may form the starting point for a harmonized database facilitating overall analysis in near future, to derive estimates for exposure for several exposure situations.


Workplace air measurements Manufactured nano-objects Inhalation exposure Surface area Particle number concentration Agglomerates Decision logic Occupational health EHS