Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, 14:1126 | Cite as

Task-based exposure assessment of nanoparticles in the workplace

  • Seunghon Ham
  • Chungsik YoonEmail author
  • Euiseung Lee
  • Kiyoung Lee
  • Donguk Park
  • Eunkyo Chung
  • Pilje Kim
  • Byoungcheun Lee
Research Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Nanotechnology, Occupational and Environmental Health


Although task-based sampling is, theoretically, a plausible approach to the assessment of nanoparticle exposure, few studies using this type of sampling have been published. This study characterized and compared task-based nanoparticle exposure profiles for engineered nanoparticle manufacturing workplaces (ENMW) and workplaces that generated welding fumes containing incidental nanoparticles. Two ENMW and two welding workplaces were selected for exposure assessments. Real-time devices were utilized to characterize the concentration profiles and size distributions of airborne nanoparticles. Filter-based sampling was performed to measure time-weighted average (TWA) concentrations, and off-line analysis was performed using an electron microscope. Workplace tasks were recorded by researchers to determine the concentration profiles associated with particular tasks/events. This study demonstrated that exposure profiles differ greatly in terms of concentrations and size distributions according to the task performed. The size distributions recorded during tasks were different from both those recorded during periods with no activity and from the background. The airborne concentration profiles of the nanoparticles varied according to not only the type of workplace but also the concentration metrics. The concentrations measured by surface area and the number concentrations measured by condensation particle counter, particulate matter 1.0, and TWA mass concentrations all showed a similar pattern, whereas the number concentrations measured by scanning mobility particle sizer indicated that the welding fume concentrations at one of the welding workplaces were unexpectedly higher than were those at workplaces that were engineering nanoparticles. This study suggests that a task-based exposure assessment can provide useful information regarding the exposure profiles of nanoparticles and can therefore be used as an exposure assessment tool.


Task-based exposure assessment Nanoparticles Nanomaterials Risk assessment Occupational health and safety 



This study was partially supported by the Korean Occupational Safety and Health Agency (No. 2010-78-895) and was partially supported by the National Institute of Environmental Research of Korea.


  1. Afshari A, Matson U et al (2005) Characterization of indoor sources of fine and ultrafine particles: a study conducted in a full-scale chamber. Indoor Air 2:141–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baveye P, Laba M (2008) Aggregation and toxicology of titanium dioxide nanoparticles. Environ Health Perspect 4:A152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bello D, Wardle B et al (2009) Exposure to nanoscale particles and fibers during machining of hybrid advanced composites containing carbon nanotubes. J Nanopart Res 1:231–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beurskens-Comuth PAWV, Verbist K et al (2011) Video exposure monitoring as part of a strategy to assess exposure to nanoparticles. Ann Occup Hyg 8:937–945CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brouwer D, van Duuren-Stuurman B et al (2009) From workplace air measurement results toward estimates of exposure? Development of a strategy to assess exposure to manufactured nano-objects. J Nanopart Res 8:1867–1881CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brouwer D, Berges M et al (2012) Harmonization of measurement strategies for exposure to manufactured nano-objects: report of a workshop. Ann Occup Hyg 1:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. BSI (2007) Nanotechnologies—Part 2: guide to safe handling and disposal of manufactured nanomaterials, British Standards InstitutionGoogle Scholar
  8. Buonanno G, Morawska L et al (2011) Exposure to welding particles in automotive plants. J Aerosol Sci 5:295–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Demou E, Peter P et al (2008) Exposure to manufactured nanostructured particles in an industrial pilot plant. Ann Occup Hyg 8:695–706CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ellenbecker M, Tsai S (2008) Interim best practices for working with nanoparticles. Center for High-Rate Nanomanufacturing, BostonGoogle Scholar
  11. Heitbrink WA, Evans DE et al (2009) Relationships among particle number, surface area, and respirable mass concentrations in automotive engine manufacturing. J Occup Environ Hyg 1:19–31Google Scholar
  12. IFA (2009) Criteria for assessment of the effectiveness of protective measures. Accessed 18 July 2012
  13. IRSST (2009) Best practices guide to synthetic nanoparticle risk management, Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail, MontrealGoogle Scholar
  14. Klein Entink R, Fransman W et al (2011) How to statistically analyze nano exposure measurement results: using an ARIMA time series approach. J Nanopart Res 12:6991–7004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kuhlbusch T, Asbach C et al (2011) Nanoparticle exposure at nanotechnology workplaces: a review. Part Fibre Toxicol 1:22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lee M-H, McClellan W et al (2007) Reduction of nanoparticle exposure to welding aerosols by modification of the ventilation system in a workplace. J Nanopart Res 1:127–136Google Scholar
  17. Lee JH, Kwon M et al (2011) Exposure assessment of workplaces manufacturing nanosized TiO2 and silver. Inhal Toxicol 4:226–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Maynard AD, Aitken RJ (2007) Assessing exposure to airborne nanomaterials: current abilities and future requirements. Nanotoxicology 1:26–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Methner M, Hodson L et al (2010) Nanoparticle emission assessment technique (NEAT) for the identification and measurement of potential inhalation exposure to engineered nanomaterials—Part B: results from 12 field studies. J Occup Environ Hyg 3:163–176Google Scholar
  20. Neitzel R, Daniell W et al (2011) Evaluation and comparison of three exposure assessment techniques. J Occup Environ Hyg 5:310–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. NIOSH (2009) Approaches to safe nanotechnology. D. o. H. a. H. Services, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  22. Oberdörster G (2010) Safety assessment for nanotechnology and nanomedicine: concepts of nanotoxicology. J Intern Med 1:89–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Oberdörster G, Ferin J et al (1994) Correlation between particle size, in vivo particle persistence, and lung injury. Environ Health Perspect 102(5):173–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Oberdörster G, Oberdörster E et al (2005) Nanotoxicology: an emerging discipline evolving from studies of ultrafine particles. Environ Health Perspect 7:823–839CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ono-Ogasawara M, Serita F et al (2009) Distinguishing nanomaterial particles from background airborne particulate matter for quantitative exposure assessment. J Nanopart Res 7:1651–1659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Park JY, Ramachandran G et al (2010) Determination of particle concentration rankings by spatial mapping of particle surface area, number, and mass concentrations in a restaurant and a die casting plant. J Occup Environ Hyg 8:466–476CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Peters TM, Heitbrink WA et al (2006) The mapping of fine and ultrafine particle concentrations in an engine machining and assembly facility. Ann Occup Hyg 3:249–257Google Scholar
  28. Peters TM, Elzey S et al (2009) Airborne monitoring to distinguish engineered nanomaterials from incidental particles for environmental health and safety. J Occup Environ Hyg 2:73–81Google Scholar
  29. Plitzko S (2009) Workplace exposure to engineered nanoparticles. Inhal Toxicol s1:25–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ramachandran G, Ostraat M et al (2011) A strategy for assessing workplace exposures to nanomaterials. J Occup Environ Hyg 11:673–685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schmoll LH, Peters TM et al (2010) Use of a condensation particle counter and an optical particle counter to assess the number concentration of engineered nanoparticles. J Occup Environ Hyg 9:535–545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Schulte P, Geraci C et al (2008) Occupational risk management of engineered nanoparticles. J Occup Environ Hyg 4:239–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Schulte P, Murashov V et al (2010) Occupational exposure limits for nanomaterials: state of the art. J Nanopart Res 6:1971–1987CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Seixas NS, Sheppard L et al (2003) Comparison of task-based estimates with full-shift measurements of noise exposure. AIHA J 6:823–829Google Scholar
  35. Tsai S-J, Ada E et al (2009) Airborne nanoparticle exposures associated with the manual handling of nanoalumina and nanosilver in fume hoods. J Nanopart Res 1:147–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tsai S-J, Huang RF et al (2010) Airborne nanoparticle exposures while using constant-flow, constant-velocity, and air-curtain-isolated fume hoods. Ann Occup Hyg 1:78–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tsai C-J, Huang C-Y et al (2011) Exposure assessment of nano-sized and respirable particles at different workplaces. J Nanopart Res 13:4161–4172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Virji MA, Woskie SR et al (2008) Task-based lead exposures and work site characteristics of bridge surface preparation and painting contractors. J Occup Environ Hyg 2:99–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Virji MA, Woskie SR et al (2009) Agreement between task-based estimates of the full-shift noise exposure and the full-shift noise dosimetry. Ann Occup Hyg 3:201–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seunghon Ham
    • 1
  • Chungsik Yoon
    • 1
    Email author
  • Euiseung Lee
    • 1
  • Kiyoung Lee
    • 1
  • Donguk Park
    • 2
  • Eunkyo Chung
    • 3
  • Pilje Kim
    • 4
  • Byoungcheun Lee
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Health and Institute of Health and Environment, Graduate School of Public HealthSeoul National UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Environmental HealthKorea National Open UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Occupational Safety and Health Research InstituteKorea Occupational Safety and Health AgencyIncheonRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Risk Assessment DivisionNational Institute of Environmental ResearchIncheonRepublic of Korea

Personalised recommendations