Assessing the potential exposure risk and control for airborne titanium dioxide and carbon black nanoparticles in the workplace

Abstract

Purpose

This study assessed the potential exposure risks for workers in the workplace exposed to airborne titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2-NPs) and carbon black nanoparticles (CB-NPs). The risk management control strategies were also developed for the NP engineering workplace.

Methods

The method used in this study was based on the integrated multiple-path particle dosimetry model to estimate the cumulative dose of nanoparticles (NPs) in the human lung. The study then analyzed toxicological effects such as pulmonary cytotoxicity and inflammation and evaluated the health risk associated with exposure to NPs in the workplace. Risk control measures such as the use of ventilating systems and N95 respirator protection are also discussed.

Results and discussion

This study found that: (1) the cumulative dose of CB-NPs was greater than that of TiO2-NPs in human lungs; (2) there is a potential health risk to workers exposed to TiO2-NPs and CB-NPs in the absence of control measures in the workplace, with higher health risks associated with CB-NPs than TiO2-NPs; and (3) the use of a ventilating system and an N95 respirator offers greater protection in the workplace and significantly reduces the health risks associated with NP exposure.

Conclusion

The present risk management control strategy suggests that the most effective way to reduce airborne NPs is to incorporate the use of a ventilating system combined with N95 respirator protection. This will enable the concentrations of TiO2-NPs and CB-NPs to be reduced to acceptable exposure levels.

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Acknowledgments

The study was financially supported by China Medical University, Taiwan (CMU 96-131).

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Correspondence to Chung-Min Liao.

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Responsible editor: Vera Slaveykova

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Ling, MP., Chio, CP., Chou, WC. et al. Assessing the potential exposure risk and control for airborne titanium dioxide and carbon black nanoparticles in the workplace. Environ Sci Pollut Res 18, 877–889 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-011-0447-y

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Keywords

  • Titanium dioxide
  • Carbon black
  • Nanoparticles
  • Workplace
  • Risk assessment