Detection and identification of engineered nanoparticles in exhaled breath condensate, blood serum, and urine of occupationally exposed subjects
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The use of nanotechnology and the fields of application of nanomaterials are growing vastly, but the negative health effects on the exposed employees are not well studied. The standardized methods of monitoring of occupational exposure are still absent. The task of occupational physicians is to find the ways of evaluation of potential risks of exposure to engineered nanoparticles and to determine the biomarkers for early diagnostics and prevention of occupational diseases. The aim of our study was to detect and identify engineered nanoparticles in biological samples received from occupationally exposed subjects and to evaluate the association of findings with the results of external aerosol measurements on the workplace. The study cohort consisted of two groups of subjects. The first group was exposed to engineered nanoparticles containing mainly iron, manganese, and carbon compounds; the second group was exposed to the nanoparticles containing copper oxide. The post-shift biological samples (urine, blood serum, and exhaled breath condensate) were collected. The analysis was performed by transmission electron microscopy and energy-dispersive spectroscopy. The nanoparticles were detected in all the biological samples. The most common identified chemical elements were the biogenic ones (carbon, potassium, chlorine, oxygen), but the nanoparticles containing metals were identified in EBC, blood, and urine as well (gold, silver, copper, lanthanum, cerium, and tantalum). Our results demonstrate the possibility of detection of occupational exposure to the engineered nanoparticles in human biological fluids. Further studies are necessary to compare the pre-shift and post-shift burden of samples with engineered nanoparticles and to determine the magnitude of occupational exposure during the shift.
KeywordsNanoparticles Occupationally exposed subjects Detection Transmission electron microscopy
This study was supported by the Czech Science Foundation (GA ČR No. 18-02079S), Czech Science Foundation Grant no. P503/12/G147, the Projects PROGRES Q25, Q29 of Charles University in Prague and project GAUK of Charles University in Prague (No. 192718).
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