Exposure risk in nano material industry

Exposure risk in nano material industry

The unique properties of nano-material will open the way to numerous innovations and an immense growth of the nano-material industry. The worldwide number of jobs in nano-technology as a whole is rapidly increasing and expected to reach 10 million in 2014.
However, in order to allow for this growth, the industry will have to deal with the potential occupational health risk associated with exposure to airborne nano-particles. Governments (see for example US EPA) and the public (see for example the site of the ETC Group) are increasingly aware of the potential health risks and the industry needs to deal responsibly with the issue. As a result the industry is developing internal policies, while governments (e.g. US and EU) are spending large budgets on research and preparation of legislation.
A first and very important step towards legislation and effective control of airborne nano-particle concentrations is a large scale assessment of nano-material exposure risk. The innovative Philips Aerasense technology is instrumental in such exposure assessment. If you are interested to know more, please contact us.

Occupational Health in nano industry ETC Group critically evaluates the social implications of all nanotechnologies and has organized a competition to design a Nano-Hazard Symbol - a design that warns of the presence of engineered nanomaterials.

Ultra-fine particles in occupational health

Also other industries with exposure risk like welding and transportation industries are showing interest in the ultra-fine particle issue. Table 1 shows average UFP exposure levels measured in a wide variety of work places.

Process or location UFP concentration level
(particles/cm3)
Main particle size
(nm)
outdoor, office up to 10.000  
silicon melt up to 100.000 280-520
metal grinding up to 130.000 17-170
soldering up to 400.000 36-64
plasma cutting up to 500.000 120-180
bakery up to 640.000 32-109
airport field up to 700.000 < 40
welding 100.000 – 40.000.000 40-600
Table 1: Average UFP exposure levels measured in a wide variety of work places as measured by the German workers health protection institute BGIA

A first and very important step towards legislation and effective control of airborne ultra-fine particles concentrations at work places is a large scale assessment of exposure risk. The innovative Philips Aerasense technology is ideal for this exposure assessment. If you are interested to know more, please contact us

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