Comparison of nanoparticle measurement instruments for occupational health applications
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Nanoparticles are used in many applications because of their novel properties compared to bulk material. A growing number of employees are working with nanomaterials and their exposure to nanoparticles trough inhalation must be evaluated and monitored continuously. However, there is an ongoing debate in the scientific literature about what are the relevant parameters to measure to evaluate exposure to level. In this study, three types of nanoparticles (ammonium sulphate, synthesised TiO2 agglomerates and aerosolised TiO2 powder, modes in a range of 30–140 nm mobility size) were measured with commonly used aerosol measurement instruments: scanning and fast mobility particle sizers (SMPS, FMPS), electrical low pressure impactor (ELPI), condensation particle counter (CPC) together with nanoparticle surface area monitor (NSAM) to achieve information about the interrelations of the outputs of the instruments. In addition, the ease of use of these instruments was evaluated. Differences between the results of different instruments can mainly be attributed to the nature of test particles. For spherical ammonium sulphate nanoparticles, the data from the instruments were in good agreement while larger differences were observed for particles with more complex morphology, the TiO2 agglomerates and powder. For instance, the FMPS showed a smaller particle size, a higher number concentration and a narrower size distribution compared with the SMPS for TiO2 particles. Thus, the type of the nanoparticle was observed to influence the data obtained from these different instruments. Therefore, care and expertise are essential when interpreting results from aerosol measurement instruments to estimate nanoparticle concentrations and properties.
KeywordsNanoparticles Occupational health Measurement instruments Comparison Environmental and health effects EHS
This research was supported by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (TEKES), Sachtleben Pigments Ltd, Beneq Ltd, Amroy, the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries, Technical Research Centre of Finland, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and University of Eastern Finland (the strategic funding of the University of Eastern Finland for the project: Novel nanostructured materials for pharmaceutical, biomedical and environmental applications). The authors would like to greatly acknowledge Mika Ihalainen M.Sc. from University of Eastern Finland for his significant help during the data analysis. In addition, the authors would like to acknowledge Tommi Karhunen M.Phys. for useful comments.
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