Workplace air measurements and likelihood of exposure to manufactured nano-objects, agglomerates, and aggregates

  • Derk H. Brouwer
  • Birgit van Duuren-Stuurman
  • Markus Berges
  • Delphine Bard
  • Elzbieta Jankowska
  • Carsten Moehlmann
  • Johannes Pelzer
  • Dave Mark
Research Paper


Manufactured nano-objects, agglomerates, and aggregates (NOAA) may have adverse effect on human health, but little is known about occupational risks since actual estimates of exposure are lacking. In a large-scale workplace air-monitoring campaign, 19 enterprises were visited and 120 potential exposure scenarios were measured. A multi-metric exposure assessment approach was followed and a decision logic was developed to afford analysis of all results in concert. The overall evaluation was classified by categories of likelihood of exposure. At task level about 53 % showed increased particle number or surface area concentration compared to “background” level, whereas 72 % of the TEM samples revealed an indication that NOAA were present in the workplace. For 54 out of the 120 task-based exposure scenarios, an overall evaluation could be made based on all parameters of the decision logic. For only 1 exposure scenario (approximately 2 %), the highest level of potential likelihood was assigned, whereas in total in 56 % of the exposure scenarios the overall evaluation revealed the lowest level of likelihood. However, for the remaining 42 % exposure to NOAA could not be excluded.


Inhalation Occupational exposure Surface area Particle number concentration Decision logic 



The NANOSH project was supported by EU-FP6 program, contract NMP4-CT-2006-032777. Part of the data analysis was funded by the EU-FP7 project NANODEVICE, contract NMP4-LA-2009-211464.

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflict of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the paper. The opinions expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect those of the European Commission.

Supplementary material

11051_2013_2090_MOESM1_ESM.docx (8.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 8294 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derk H. Brouwer
    • 1
  • Birgit van Duuren-Stuurman
    • 1
  • Markus Berges
    • 2
  • Delphine Bard
    • 3
  • Elzbieta Jankowska
    • 4
  • Carsten Moehlmann
    • 2
  • Johannes Pelzer
    • 2
  • Dave Mark
    • 3
  1. 1.TNO Research Group Risk Analysis for Products in DevelopmentZeistThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institute für Arbeitsschutz - IFASankt AugustinGermany
  3. 3.Health and Safety Laboratory - HSLBuxtonUK
  4. 4.Central Institute for Labour Protection - National Research Institute – CIOP-PIBWarsawPoland

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