Characterization of exposure to silver nanoparticles in a manufacturing facility
An assessment of the extent of exposure to nanomaterials in the workplace will be helpful in improving the occupational safety of workers. It is essential that the exposure data in the workplace are concerned with risk management to evaluate and reduce worker exposure. In a manufacturing facility dealing with nanomaterials, some exposure data for gas-phase reactions are available, but much less information is available regarding liquid-phase reactions. Although the potential for inhaling nanomaterials in a liquid-phase process is less than that for gas-phase, the risks of exposure during wet-chemistry processes are not negligible. In this study, we monitored and analyzed the exposure characteristics of silver nanoparticles during a liquid-phase process in a commercial production facility. Based on the measured exposure data, the source of Ag nanoparticles emitted during the production processes was indentified and a mechanism for the growth of Ag nanoparticle released is proposed. The data reported in this study could be used to establish occupational safety guidelines in the nanotechnology workplace, especially in a liquid-phase production facility.