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Inhalation Exposure

“Of the three primary exposure metrics (mass, surface area, and number), there is compelling evidence to suggest that occupational nanoparticle aerosols should be monitored in terms of surface area. The concentration of nanoparticles might be very small in terms of mass, quite large in terms of surface area and huge in terms of particle number. However, the estimate of surface area does depend on the measurement technique used. Depending on how much detail of the surface is inspected, the measurement can increase significantly.”1

Possible risks being examined through the inhalation exposure risk include:

  • Pulmonary disease
  • Entering bloodstream via pentration of epithelia cell
  • Translocating to brain via olfactory nerves
  • Transfer to body organs via gastro-intestinal compartment

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (“NIOSH”) has established a field research team that has developed a nanoparticle emission assessment technique (“NEAT”) uses a combination of measurement techniques and instruments to assess potential inhalation exposures in facilities that handle engineered nanomaterials. More information about NEAT can be found in a January 2009 NIOSH “Demonstration of the Nanoparticle Emission Assessment Technique (NEAT) Used by NIOSH for Identifying Sources for Identifying Sources and Releases of Engineered Nanoparticles.” .

Related Topics:

Nanoparticle Emission Assessment Technique


1. R. Aitken, K.Creely, C. Tran, “Nanoparticles: An occupational hygiene review,” Prepared by the Institute of Occupational Medicine for the Health and Safety Executive 2004, Research Report 274, at 13 (2004).