Inter-comparison of personal monitors for nanoparticles exposure at workplaces and in the environment

Todea, A. M.; Beckmann, S; Kaminski, H.; Bard, D.; Bau, B.; Clavaguera, S.; Dahmann, D.; Dozol, H.; Dziurowitz, N.; Elihn, K.; Fierz, M.; Lidén, G.; Meyer-Plath, A.; Monz, C.; Neumann, V.; Pelzer, J.; Simonow, B. K.; Thali, P.; Tuinman, I.; van der Vleuten, A.; Vroomen, H.; Christof Asbach, C.
2017 | Sci. Total Environ. | 605-606 (929-945)

Personal monitors based on unipolar diffusion charging (miniDiSC/DiSCmini, NanoTracer, Partector) can be used to assess the individual exposure to nanoparticles in different environments. The charge acquired by the aerosol particles is nearly proportional to the particle diameter and, by coincidence, also nearly proportional to the alveolar lung-deposited surface area (LDSA), the metric reported by all three instruments. In addition, the miniDiSC/DiSCmini and the NanoTracer report particle number concentration and mean particle size. In view of their use for personal exposure studies, the comparability of these personal monitors was assessed in two measurement campaigns. Altogether 29 different polydisperse test aerosols were generated during the two campaigns, covering a large range of particle sizes, morphologies and concentrations. The data provided by the personal monitors were compared with those obtained from reference instruments: a scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS) for
LDSA and mean particle size and a ultrafine particle counter (UCPC) for number concentration. The results indicated that the LDSA concentrations and the mean particle sizes provided by all investigated instruments in this study were in the order of ±30% of the reference value obtained from the SMPS when the particle sizes of the test aerosols generatedwerewithin 20–400 nm and the instruments were properly calibrated. Particle size, morphology and concentration did not have a major effect within the aforementioned limits. The comparability of the number concentrations was found to be slightly worse and in the range of ±50% of the reference value obtained from the UCPC. In addition, a minor effect of the particle morphology on the number concentration measurements was observed. The presence of particles >400nm can drastically bias the measurement results of all instruments and all metrics determined.

Transport and Deposition of Welding Fume Agglomerates in a Realistic Human Nasal Airway

Tian, L.; Inthavong, K.; Lidén, G.; Shang, Y.; Tu, J.
2016 | Ann Occup Hyg | 60 (6) (731-747)

Welding fume is a complex mixture containing ultra-fine particles in the nanometer range. Rather than being in the form of a singular sphere, due to the high particle concentration, welding fume particles agglomerate into long straight chains, branches, or other forms of compact shapes. Understanding the transport and deposition of these nano-agglomerates in human respiratory systems is of great interest as welding fumes are a known health hazard. The neurotoxin manganese (Mn) is a common element in welding fumes. Particulate Mn, either as soluble salts or oxides, that has deposited on the olfactory mucosa in human nasal airway is transported along the olfactory nerve to the olfactory bulb within the brain. If this Mn is further transported to the basal ganglia of the brain, it could accumulate at the part of the brain that is the focal point of its neurotoxicity. Accounting for various dynamic shape factors due to particle agglomeration, the current computational study is focused on the exposure route, the deposition pattern, and the deposition efficiency of the inhaled welding fume particles in a realistic human nasal cavity. Particular attention is given to the deposition pattern and deposition efficiency of inhaled welding fume agglomerates in the nasal olfactory region. For particles in the nanoscale, molecular diffusion is the dominant transport mechanism. Therefore, Brownian diffusion, hydrodynamic drag, Saffman lift force, and gravitational force are included in the model study. The deposition efficiencies for single spherical particles, two kinds of agglomerates of primary particles, two-dimensional planar and straight chains, are investigated for a range of primary particle sizes and a range of number of primary particles per agglomerate. A small fraction of the inhaled welding fume agglomerates is deposited on the olfactory mucosa, approximately in the range 0.1–1%, and depends on particle size and morphology. The strong size dependence of the deposition in olfactory mucosa on particle size implies that the occupation deposition of welding fume manganese can be expected to vary with welding method.

An approach for manganese biomonitoring using a manganese carrier switch in serum from transferrin to citrate at slightly elevated manganese concentration

Michalke, B.; Aslanoglou, L.; Ochsenkühn-Petropoulou, M.; Bergström, B.; Berthele, A.; Vinceti, M.; Lucio, M.; Lidén, G.;
2015 | J Trace Elem Med Biol | 32 (145-154)

After high-dose-short-term exposure (usually from occupational exposure) and even more under low-dose long term exposure (mainly environmental) manganese (Mn) biomonitoring is still problematic since these exposure scenarios are not necessarily reflected by a significant increase of total Mn in bloodor serum. Usually, Mn concentrations of exposed and unexposed persons overlap and individual differen-tiation is often not possible. In this paper Mn speciation on a large sample size (n = 180) was used in orderto be able to differentiate between highly Mn-exposed or low or unexposed individuals at low total Mn concentration in serum (Mn(S)). The whole sample set consisted of three subsets from Munich, Emilia-Romagna region in Italy and from Sweden. It turned out that also at low total Mn(S) concentrations achange in major Mn carriers in serum takes place from Mn-transferrin (Mn-Tf(S)) towards Mn-citrate(Mn-Cit(S)) with high statistical significance (p < 0.000002). This carrier switch from Mn-Tf(S) to Mn-Cit(S)was observed between Mn(S) concentrations of 1.5 g/L to ca. 1.7 g/L. Parallel to this carrier change,for sample donors from Munich where serum and cerebrospinal fluid were available, the concentrationof Mn beyond neural barriers – analysed as Mn in cerebrospinal fluid (Mn(C)) – positively correlates toMn-Cit(S) when Mn(S) concentration was above 1.7 g/L. The correlation between Mn-Cit(S) and Mn(C)reflects the facilitated Mn transport through neural barrier by means of Mn-citrate. Regional differencesin switch points from Mn-Tf(S) to Mn-Cit(S) were observed for the three sample subsets. It is currentlyunknown whether these differences are due to differences in location, occupation, health status or other aspects. Based on our results, Mn-Cit(S) determination was considered as a potential means for estimat-ing the Mn load in brain and CSF, i.e., it could be used as a biomarker for Mn beyond neural barrier.For a simpler Mn-Cit(S) determination than size exclusion chromatography inductively coupled plasmamass spectrometry (SEC-ICP-MS), ultrafiltration (UF) of serum samples was tested for suitability, the latter possibly being a preferred choice for routine occupational medicine laboratories. Our results revealed that UF could be an alternative if methodical prerequisites and limitations are carefully considered. These prerequisites were determined to be a thorough cleaning procedure at a minimum Mn(S) concentration>1.5 g/L, as at lower concentrations a wide scattering of the measured concentrations in comparison tothe standardized SEC-ICP-MS results were observed.

An approach for manganese biomonitoring using a manganese carrier switch in serum from transferrin to citrate at slightly elevated manganese concentration

B. Michalke; L. Aslanoglou; M. Ochsenkühn-Petropoulou; B. Bergström; A. Berthele; M. Vinceti; M. Lucio; G. Lidén
2015 | J Trace Elem Med Biol | 32 (145-154)

After high-dose-short-term exposure (usually from occupational exposure) and even more under low-dose long term exposure (mainly environmental) manganese (Mn) biomonitoring is still problematic since these exposure scenarios are not necessarily reflected by a significant increase of total Mn in blood or serum. Usually, Mn concentrations of exposed and unexposed persons overlap and individual differentiation is often not possible. In this paper Mn speciation on a large sample size (n = 180) was used in order to be able to differentiate between highly Mn-exposed or low or unexposed individuals at low total Mn concentration in serum (Mn(S)). The whole sample set consisted of three subsets from Munich, Emilia Romagna region in Italy and from Sweden. It turned out that also at low total Mn(S) concentrations a change in major Mn carriers in serum takes place from Mn-transferrin (Mn-Tf(S)) towards Mn-citrate (Mn-Cit(S)) with high statistical significance (p < 0.000002). This carrier switch from Mn-Tf(S) to Mn-Cit(S) was observed between Mn(S) concentrations of 1.5 μg/L to ca. 1.7 μg/L. Parallel to this carrier change, for sample donors from Munich where serum and cerebrospinal fluid were available, the concentration of Mn beyond neural barriers – analysed as Mn in cerebrospinal fluid (Mn(C)) – positively correlates to Mn-Cit(S) when Mn(S) concentration was above 1.7 μg/L. The correlation between Mn-Cit(S) and Mn(C) reflects the facilitated Mn transport through neural barrier by means of Mn-citrate. Regional differences in switch points from Mn-Tf(S) to Mn-Cit(S) were observed for the three sample subsets. It is currently unknown whether these differences are due to differences in location, occupation, health status or other aspects. Based on our results, Mn-Cit(S) determination was considered as a potential means for estimating the Mn load in brain and CSF, i.e., it could be used as a biomarker for Mn beyond neural barrier. For a simpler Mn-Cit(S) determination than size exclusion chromatography inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (SEC-ICP-MS), ultrafiltration (UF) of serum samples was tested for suitability, the latter possibly being a preferred choice for routine occupational medicine laboratories. Our results revealed that UF could be an alternative if methodical prerequisites and limitations are carefully considered. These prerequisites were determined to be a thorough cleaning procedure at a minimum Mn(S) concentration >1.5 μg/L, as at lower concentrations a wide scattering of the measured concentrations in comparison to the standardized SEC-ICP-MS results were observed.

From Source to Dose: Emission, Transport, Aerosol Dynamics and Dose Assessment for Workplace Aerosol Exposure

Seipenbusch, M.; Yu, M.; Asbach, C.; Rating, U.; Kuhlbusch, T.A.J.; Lidén, G.
2014 | Handbook of nanosafety: Measurement, Exposure and Toxicology / Edited by U. Vogel, K. Savolainen, Q. Wu, M. van Tongeren, D. Brouwer, M. Berges (135-171) | ISBN: 978-0-12-416604-2

Monitoring and Sampling Strategy for (Manufactured) Nano Objects, Agglomerates and Aggregates (NOAA): Potential added value of the NANODEVICE project

Brouwer, D.H.; Lidén, G.; Asbach, C.; Berges, M.G.M.; van Tongeren, M.
2014 | Handbook of nanosafety: Measurement, Exposure and Toxicology / Edited by U. Vogel, K. Savolainen, Q. Wu, M. van Tongeren, D. Brouwer, M. Berges (173-206) | ISBN: 978-0-12-416604-2

Workplace aerosol mass concentration measurement using optical particle counters

Görner, P.; Simon, X.; Bémer, D.; Lidén, G.
2012 | J Environ Monit | 14 (421-428)

Correlation between airborne particle concentrations in seven industrial plants and estimated respiratory tract deposition by number, mass and elemental composition

2011 | J Aerosol Sci | 42 (2) (127-141)
particle deposition , particle inhalation , particle size , respiratory system , size distribution , workplace measurement

The number and mass distribution of airborne particles were recorded in several
industrial plants. From the data obtained, particle deposition was estimated in three
regions of the respiratory tract using the ICRP grand average deposition model based
on Hinds’(1999) parameterization.The median diameter was 30–70 nm (number
distributions), and 4 µm (mass distributions) near most work activities, resulting in
linear relationships between the deposited number/mass concentrations and the
number/mass concentrations in theair. Welding and laser cutting produced particles
in the 200–500-nm range; total deposition was small, not in accordance with the linear relationship observed for the other work activities. The elemental content varied between particle sizes in some workplaces, causing different elements to deposit in different respiratory regions. Iron was the most abundant element in the particles in many of the workplaces; in an iron foundry, however, Fe was most abundant only in the micron-sized particles whereas the nanoparticles mainly comprised Pb and Sb.

The European Commission Tries to Define Nanomaterials

2011 | Ann Occup Hyg | 55 (1) (1-5)
european commission , international standardization , nanomaterials , nanoparticles , nanotoxicity

In 2010, the European Commission held a short consultation on a proposed definition for nanomaterials, to be used in European Union legislation and programmes. This was in response to a European Parliament resolution, and the definition followed a proposal by one of the Commission’s scientific committees. The definition has three parts: on size distribution, size of internal structural elements, and surface area; a material caught by any of these parts meets the definition. There are a number of problems. The definition seems to be written with engineered nanomaterials in mind but as written applies to non-supplied materials, such as smokes. The structural element component seems to capture items such as sunscreen and tennis rackets, which include nanomaterials. Use of the definition will require some international standards, which have yet to be written and which will involve some difficult decisions. It is understandable why there are both size and surface area requirements, but they are not wholly consistent. The Commission plans a further consultation in 2012, but it might be better to delay this until after the standardisation work.

Measured Elemental Carbon by Thermo-Optical Transmittance Analysis in Water-Soluble Extracts from Diesel Exhaust, Woodsmoke, and Ambient Particulate Samples

2010 | J Occup Environ Hyg | 7 (1) (35-45)
combustion , niosh method 5040 , occupational exposure , residential woodburning

Elemental carbon has been proposed as a marker of diesel particulate matter. The objective of this study was to investigate if water-soluble carbonaceous compounds could be responsible for positive bias of elemental carbon using NIOSH Method 5040 with a thermo-optical carbon transmittance analyzer. Filter samples from eight different aerosol environments were used: pure diesel exhaust fume with a high content of elemental carbon, pure diesel exhaust fume with a low content of elemental carbon, pure biodiesel exhaust fume, pure woodsmoke, an urban road tunnel, an urban street canyon, an urban background site, and residential woodburning in an urban area. Part of each filter sample was analyzed directly with a thermo-optical carbon analyzer, and another part was extracted with water. This water-soluble extract was filtered to remove particles, spiked onto filter punches, and analyzed with a thermo-optical transmittance carbon analyzer. The ratio of elemental carbon in the watersoluble extract to the particulate sample measurement was 18, 12, and 7%, respectively, for the samples of pure woodsmoke, residential woodburning, and urban background. Samples with diesel particulate matter and ambient samples with motor exhaust detected no elemental carbon in the water-soluble extract. Since no particles were present in the filtered watersoluble extract, part of the water-soluble organic carbon species, existing or created during analysis, are misclassified as elemental carbon with this analysis. The conclusion is that in measuring elemental carbon in particulate aerosol samples with thermo-optical transmittance analysis, woodsmoke, and biomass combustion samples show a positive bias of elemental carbon. The water-soluble EC could be used as a simple method to indicate other sources, such as wood or other biomass combustion aerosol particles.

Experimental Investigation of the Concept of a ‘Breathing Zone’ using a Mannequin Exposed to a Point Source of Inertial/Sedimenting Particles Emitted with Momentum

Lidén, G.; Waher, J.
2010 | Ann Occup Hyg | 54 (1) (100-116)
aerosol , breathing zone , dust , exposure , sampling

An inhaling mannequin, CALTOOL, was used in a specially ventilated room to compare the concentrations inhaled with those sampled by samplers mounted across the breathing zone. The CALTOOL is made from metal sheets and consists of a cylindrical torso (42 x 24 x 54 cm) with a circular cylinder as head. A circular nozzle simulates the mouth. This nozzle is part of a cassette that holds a filter. The inhalation rate is not periodic but kept constant at nominally 20 l/min. The CALTOOL was placed in a horizontal air stream ( 10 cm/s) either facing or back to the wind. In front of the lower chest of the CALTOOL, a particle source was mounted which emitted particles with a momentum directed upwards at an angle of 45° towards the CALTOOL. Five monodisperse aluminium oxide powders were used as test aerosols. The mass median aerodynamic diameters of the test aerosols ranged 10 to 95 µm. Six conically shaped aerosol samplers were mounted horizontally and over the breathing zone of the CALTOOL, one on each shoulder, three across the upper torso, and one at the lower torso centre. Four to six runs per test aerosol and CALTOOL orientation in the airflow were conducted. The samples were analysed gravimetrically. The concentration ratio aerosol sampler to the CALTOOL cassette was determined for the investigated mounting positions. The results showed that when the CALTOOL was exposed to particles emitted with momentum from a point source in front of the lower chest, the variation in concentration over the breathing zone was large. The ratio of the concentration sampled by an aerosol sampler mounted somewhere within the breathing zone to the CALTOOL cassette concentration, would, for specific particle sizes, easily differ by a factor of 3, but may extend up to 10–100, depending on the particular conditions. The basic concept of a breathing zone consisting of a hemisphere of radius 25–30 cm is therefore not well suited for workers handling a point source emitting large particles. For such sampling situations, it is suggested that the radius of the breathing zone is reduced to 10 cm, which may be achieved by a head-mounted sampler.

A headset-mounted mini sampler for measuring exposure to welding aerosol in the breathing zone

Lidén, G.; Surakka, J.
2009 | Ann Occup Hyg | 53 (2) (99-116)
aerosol , exposure , fume , manganese , sampling , welding

There is a need for a small personal aerosol sampler for measuring occupational exposure to airborne particles in the breathing zone. Existing aerosol samplers are too large to be mounted inside modern welder's protective equipment without disturbing the worker. A headset-mounted mini sampler has been developed to fill this gap with focus on manganese exposure. This mini sampler is easy to use and can be mounted inside modern, slimline welder's face shield. The mini sampler is based on a commercially available 13-mm filter holder that has been modified to incorporate an inlet nozzle made of aluminium. The nominal flow rate of the mini sampler is 0.75 l/min. The mini sampler is to be worn mounted on a headset, modified from professional microphone headsets. Several aspects related to using the mini sampler have been tested by personal and static sampling at five workplaces and in the laboratory. Four headset models were tested for their suitability as a sampler holder, of which three models were accepted by the welders. The sampling bias of the mini sampler versus the IOM sampler and the open-face 25-mm filter holder, respectively, depends on the size distribution of the sampled aerosol. At the lowest encountered mass concentration ratio of the open-face 25-mm filter holder to the IOM sampler (0.65), the sampling bias of the mini sampler versus the IOM sampler is approximately −26% and versus the open-face 25-mm filter holder is approximately +12%. For manganese, the negative root mean square (RMS) sampling bias of the mini sampler versus the IOM sampler is −0.046 and versus the open-face 25-mm filter holder is non-significant. Both these biases are statistically non-significant. The mini sampler can therefore be employed for determining welders’ occupational exposure to manganese. The pressure drop across the filter can become excessive due to the small filtration area. Compared to the Casella Apex pump, the SKC AirChek2000 pump was generally found to be able to keep its flow rate constant within ±5% at higher concentrations and for longer sampling times. Our results indicate that the inhalable fraction of the welding aerosol mass at the visited plants only consisted of 25–55% welding fume particles (agglomerates of coagulated particles generated by nucleation/condensation). The rest of the mass is made up of particles from spattering and grinding. More than 65% of manganese is generally found in the fume particles. The weighing precision of 13-mm filters is 2.2 μg. The RMS sample loss due to transport when loaded samples are shipped by mail in padded envelopes is 6 μg. Both figures are very low in comparison to the mass expected to be collected by personal sampling, generally exceeding 200 μg. The headset-mounted mini sampler is user-friendly, easy to adjust individually, does not disturb the welder during sampling and allows sampling inside personal protective equipment. The headset mounting arrangement improves personal sampling as it maintains the sampler close to the nose/mouth during the whole sampling period. This study shows that the developed headset-mounted mini sampler is suitable for assessing exposure to manganese in welding aerosol.

Contact information

Visiting addresses:

Geovetenskapens Hus,
Svante Arrhenius väg 8, Stockholm

Arrheniuslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16, Stockholm (Unit for Analytical and Toxicological Chemistry)

Mailing address:
Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry (ACES)
Stockholm University
106 91 Stockholm

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Stella Papadopoulou
Science Communicator
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stella.papadopoulou@aces.su.se