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Title: Occupational Exposure to Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes During Commercial Production Synthesis and Handling.
Authors: Kuijpers E,  Bekker C,  Fransman W,  Brouwer D,  Tromp P,  Vlaanderen J,  Godderis L,  Hoet P,  Lan Q,  Silverman D,  Vermeulen R,  Pronk A
Journal: Ann Occup Hyg
Date: 2016 Apr
Branches: OEEB
PubMed ID: 26613611
PMC ID: PMC4834915
Abstract: The world-wide production of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) has increased substantially in the last decade, leading to occupational exposures. There is a paucity of exposure data of workers involved in the commercial production of CNTs. The goals of this study were to assess personal exposure to multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) during the synthesis and handling of MWCNTs in a commercial production facility and to link these exposure levels to specific activities. Personal full-shift filter-based samples were collected, during commercial production and handling of MWCNTs, R&D activities, and office work. The concentrations of MWCNT were evaluated on the basis of EC concentrations. Associations were studied between observed MWCNT exposure levels and location and activities. SEM analyses showed MWCNTs, present as agglomerates ranging between 200 nm and 100 µm. Exposure levels of MWCNTs observed in the production area during the full scale synthesis of MWCNTs (N = 23) were comparable to levels observed during further handling of MWCNTs (N = 19): (GM (95% lower confidence limit-95% upper confidence limit)) 41 μg m(-3) (20-88) versus 43 μg m(-3) (22-86), respectively. In the R&D area (N = 11) and the office (N = 5), exposure levels of MWCNTs were significantly (P < 0.05) lower: 5 μg m(-3) (2-11) and 7 μg m(-3) (2-28), respectively. Bagging, maintenance of the reactor, and powder conditioning were associated with higher exposure levels in the production area, whereas increased exposure levels in the R&D area were related to handling of MWCNTs powder.