Nanotechnology Project

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Environment, Health and Safety Research

Physical Characteristics of Ultrafine Particles

Project Information

Principal InvestigatorAndrew D Maynard
InstitutionProject on Emerging Nanotechnologies, Woodrow Wilson Center
Project URLView
Relevance to ImplicationsHigh
Class of NanomaterialGeneric
Impact SectorHuman Health
Broad Research Categories Exposure
NNI identifier

Funding Information

Anticipated Total Fundingn/a
Annual Fundingn/a
Funding SourceNIOSH
Funding MechanismIntramural
Funding SectorGovernment
Start Year2002
Anticipated End Year2005


This project begins to address the need for novel methods for characterizing and quantifying workplace ultrafine particulate exposures in terms of aerosol surface-area. There is growing evidence that current occupational exposure limits may not adequately protect all workers exposed to low-solubility particles smaller than typically 100 nm in diameter (ultrafine particles). Surface-area is implicated as an important exposure metric in a number of studies. However there are currently no validated methods for measuring aerosol surface-area exposure in the workplace. New and existing exposure measurement methods are being evaluated. Research is also examining the behavior of ultrafine particles in the workplace and following lung deposition, to further explore the relevance of alternative exposure metrics. This research will provide a basis for re-evaluating current exposure standards and monitoring methods.