Standardising toxicological tests for nanoparticles
Nanoparticles (NPs) are becoming more and more widespread with rapid advancements in nanotechnology. They are often released into the workplace as aerosols and there is a great deal of concern about their potential health effects.
European researchers, motivated by the fact that aerosol properties change dramatically when released to ambient air compared to their properties in the reactor, developed ‘The behaviour of aerosols released to ambient air from nanoparticle manufacturing - a pre-normative study' (Nanotransport) project. Their goal was to highlight the need for standardised test measures adapted to nanotoxicology and occupational health.
The EU-funded project group consisted of experts in risk management, aerosol monitoring, filtration, NP technology and online particle characterisation. They demonstrated that the aerosols formed by NP manufacture change dramatically when released into ambient air.
In addition, due to fast agglomeration of NPs and attachment to aerosol, workers are more likely to come in contact with the agglomerates than with the pure NPs themselves. Thus, monitoring and filtering equipment must encompass the size range and chemical composition of agglomerates in addition to the original properties of the pure NPs.
The particle size distribution of the agglomerates and their attachment to ambient particles changes significantly depending on a variety of release conditions. This highlights the need to consider specific workplace scenarios when evaluating risk.
In summary, the Nanotransport project contributed significantly to characterisation and understanding of the behaviour of aerosols released during the NP manufacturing process. In particular, it highlighted the need for careful and detailed evaluation of the agglomerates created when the aerosols are released into ambient air.
Applications of the outcomes to development of detection and measurement instrumentation used for standardised testing of nanotoxicology should enhance the health and safety of workers in the NP field. That’s good news for Europeans and good news for the European healthcare system.
Information Source: Result from the EU funded FP6-NMP programme
WU, Qinglan (Dr)
DET NORSKE VERITAS AS
Offer ID: 8050