Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New methods and tools needed to measure exposure to airborne nanomaterials

19.04.2007
New methods and tools for measuring exposure to airborne engineered nanomaterials will be required to protect the health of workers in nanotechnology-related jobs— estimated to total 10 million people by 2014—according to two occupational health experts writing in the inaugural issue of the journal Nanotoxicology.

The article, "Assessing Exposure to Airborne Nanomaterials: Current Abilities and Future Requirements," written by Andrew Maynard, chief science advisor at the Wilson Center's Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, and Robert Aitken, director of strategic consulting at the Institute of Occupational Medicine (Edinburgh, UK), can be viewed online at http://www.nanotoxicology.net.

"Airborne engineered nanomaterials present complex exposure measurement challenges," Maynard said. "Conventional approaches—measuring the mass of airborne material—will not always be sufficient. This presents a challenge because studies have indicated that, on a mass-for-mass basis, certain nanometer-scale particles may be more toxic than larger particles with a similar composition. In other words, smaller particles may be more harmful than conventional thinking would lead us to believe."

Maynard and Aitken reduced the incredibly diverse set of possible engineered nanoparticles into nine distinct categories, ranging from very simple spherical particles to complex multifunctional particles. By pairing these categories with particle properties associated with potential health effects, they teased out possible monitoring approaches for each particle-property combination.

"What our analysis shows is that in the complex new 'nano world' there is no single or simple method for monitoring nanoaerosol exposures in order to assess and manage potential health effects," Aitken explained. "There are instruments that present partial solutions to the measurement challenges we face. But at the end of the day, we lack the tools and devices that are sophisticated, cost-effective and fast enough to do the job."

Maynard and Aitken conclude that current approaches of measuring the number of particles in a volume of air, surface areas, and mass concentration, will all be useful to some degree. However, further research is needed to identify which is most important for specific nanomaterials and which measurement methods are most effective.

The authors advocate developing a new "universal aerosol monitor" capable of providing detailed information on the nature of airborne engineered nanomaterials to which people are exposed. Maynard, Aitken and 12 other experts included development of such a versatile measurement tool among five grand challenges that they viewed as essential to achieving the safe handling of nanotechnology in an article that appeared in the November 16, 2006 issue of the journal Nature.

The proposed wearable sampling device would measure aerosol number, surface area, and concentration mass simultaneously and would be low cost. Today, stand-alone instruments can perform the individual types of measurements called for by Maynard and Aitken. "Bringing these technologies together into a single package within the size and cost parameters discussed does present a significant challenge," they write.

"An economical integrated device will empower small and large nanotechnology industries alike to reduce uncertainty over what their workers are exposed to, and enable them to develop safer working environments" said Maynard. "This will require targeted research into developing new methodologies and new instruments. But the rapid advancement and commercialization of nanotechnologies are leading to the need for effective—if not necessarily perfect—exposure measurement approaches and devices to be developed as soon as possible."

In 2005, nanotechnology was incorporated into $30 billion in manufactured goods—a number predicted to grow to $2.6 trillion in annual manufactured goods by 2014. Already, there are almost 400 manufacturer-identified nanotechnology-based consumer products on the market—ranging from computer chips to automobile parts and from clothing to cosmetics and dietary supplements (see: www.nanotechproject.org/consumerproducts).

Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, see, manipulate and manufacture things usually between 1 and 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter; a human hair is roughly 100,000 nanometers wide.

Sharon McCarter | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nanotoxicology.net
http://www.nanotechproject.org/consumerproducts

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'
23.02.2017 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars
22.02.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>