Nanotechnology Project

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Environment, Health and Safety Research

The Assessment of Different Metrics of the Concentration of Nano (Ultrafine) Particles in Existing and New Industries

Project Information

Principal InvestigatorCelia Elliot-Minty
InstitutionHealth and Safety Executive
Project URLView
Relevance to ImplicationsHigh
Class of NanomaterialEngineered Nanomaterials
Impact SectorHuman Health
Broad Research Categories Exposure
Risk Assessment
NNI identifier

Funding Information

Anticipated Total Funding$195,744.00
Annual Funding$97,872.00
Funding SourceHSE
Funding MechanismIntramural
Funding SectorGovernment
Start Year2002
Anticipated End Year2004


Background Nanotechnology involves the production of very small particles (<100 nm) with specific unique surface properties that can be used in a wide range of industries. In the next few years it is likely that there will be a dramatic increase in the industrial generation and use of these nanoparticles. When this occurs, the workforces in these industries may be exposed to high levels of airborne nanoparticles and unique health outcomes associated with these particles may result, if work is not carried out at an early stage to address this problem. At present the best metric in relation to the effect of exposure to nanoparticles on health has not been determined. Whilst mass is the current metric for measuring exposure to coarse aerosol fractions, there is evidence to suggest that it may not be the right choice for nanoparticles and it may be better to measure surface area or number. This project would aim to carry out preliminary work to determine whether the surface area concentration of nanoparticles can be estimated with an acceptable level of accuracy from measurements of other metrics such as mass or number that can be more easily measured.

Objectives 1. To assess the relationships between mass, number and surface area concentrations of nanoparticles in workplaces. 2. To determine whether the surface area concentrations of nanoparticles can be estimated with an acceptable accuracy from measurements of other metrics mass and number.