Nanotechnology Project

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Environment, Health and Safety Research

Penetration of Nanoparticles Through Respirator Filter Media

Project Information

Principal InvestigatorSamy Rengasamy
InstitutionNational Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
Project URLView
Relevance to ImplicationsHigh
Class of NanomaterialEngineered Nanomaterials
Impact SectorSafety
Broad Research Categories Exposure
NNI identifiere1-2

Funding Information

Anticipated Total Funding$500,000.00
Annual Funding$166,666.67
Funding SourceNIOSH
Funding Mechanism
Funding Sector
Start Year2004
Anticipated End Year2007


The objective of this project is to evaluate the penetration of nanoparticles through respirator filter media. Nanoparticles smaller than 100 nanomaterials (nm) in size can behave differently from larger particles of the same material. NIOSH has initiated research projects on nanoparticle exposure, health effects, and respiratory protection. For respiratory protection against various particles, particulate respirators are commonly used in different workplaces. Although NIOSH-approved respirators efficiently capture particles greater than 20 nm, few data exist on their efficiency for smaller than 20 nm particles. Some studies suggest the penetration of smaller particles through filters by a thermal rebound mechanism. The results will be confirmed by testing NIOSH-approved respirators against particles smaller than 20 nm. This study will ensure that respirators provide adequate protection for workers in the nanotechnology industries.

(Project budget is an estimate only, based on available data)