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Exposure and emission measurements during production, purification, and functionalization of arc-discharge-produced multi-walled carbon nanotubes

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  • 2014

Background: The production and use of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is rapidly growing. With increased production, there is potential that the number of occupational exposed workers will rapidly increase. Toxicological studies on rats have shown effects in the lungs, e.g. inflammation, granuloma formation, and fibrosis after repeated inhalation exposure to some forms of multi-walled CNTs (MWCNTs). Still, when it comes to health effects, it is unknown which dose metric is most relevant. Limited exposure data for CNTs exist today and no legally enforced occupational exposure limits are yet established. The aim of this work was to quantify the occupational exposures and emissions during arc discharge production, purification, and functionalization of MWCNTs. The CNT material handled typically had a mean length <5 μm. Since most of the collected airborne CNTs did not fulfil the World Health Organization fibre dimensions (79% of the counted CNT-containing particles) and since no microscopy-based method for counting of CNTs exists, we decided to count all particle that contained CNTs. To investigate correlations between the used exposure metrics, Pearson correlation coefficient was used. Methods: Exposure measurements were performed at a small-scale producer of MWCNTs and respirable fractions of dust concentrations, elemental carbon (EC) concentrations, and number concentrations of...

Hedmer, Maria; Isaxon, Christina; Nilsson, Patrick T.; Ludvigsson, Linus; Messing, Maria; Genberg, Johan; Skaug, Vidar; Bohgard, Mats; Tinnerberg, Håkan; Pagels, Joakim
Annals of Occupational Hygiene 58(3): 355–379
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