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Dip coating of air purifier ceramic honeycombs with photocatalytic TiO2 nanoparticles: A case study for occupational exposure

Author: Koivisto, A.J. · Kling, K.I. · Fonseca, A.S. · Brostrøm Bluhme, A. · Moreman, M. · Yu, M. · Costa, A.L. · Giovanni, B. · Ortelli, S. · Fransman, W. · Vogel, U. · Jensen, K.A.
Source:Science of the Total Environment, 630, 1283-1291
Identifier: 787075
doi: doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.02.316
Keywords: Nutrition · Nanomaterial · Titanium dioxide · Indoor aerosol modeling · Inhalation exposure · Emission rate · Air cleaners · Air purification · Biological organs · Ceramic materials · Coatings · Honeycomb structures · Industrial hygiene · Nanoparticles · Nanostructured materials · Occupational risks · Particulate emissions · Respiratory system · Titanium dioxide · Deposited surface areas · Emission rates · Environmental exposure · Indoor aerosol model · Inhalation exposure · Nanoparticle suspension · National institute for occupational safety and healths · Occupational exposure · Particles (particulate matter) · Titanium dioxide nanoparticle · Aerosol · Catalysis · Ceramics · Emission · Modeling · Nanomaterial · Nanoparticle · Photochemistry · Titanium · Bronchus · Case study · Controlled study · Lung alveolus · Material coating · No-observed-adverse-effect level · Particle size · Particulate matter · Photocatalysis · Physical chemistry · Prediction · Trachea · Work environment · Food and Nutrition · Healthy Living · Life · RAPID - Risk Analysis for Products in Development · ELSS - Earth, Life and Social Sciences


Nanoscale TiO2 (nTiO2) is manufactured in high volumes and is of potential concern in occupational health. Here, we measured workers exposure levels while ceramic honeycombs were dip coated with liquid photoactive nanoparticle suspension and dried with an air blade. The measured nTiO2 concentration levels were used to assess process specific emission rates using a convolution theorem and to calculate inhalation dose rates of deposited nTiO2 particles. Dip coating did not result in detectable release of particles but air blade drying released fine-sized TiO2 and nTiO2 particles. nTiO2 was found in pure nTiO2 agglomerates and as individual particles deposited onto background particles. Total particle emission rates were 420 × 109 min−1, 1.33 × 109 μm2 min−1, and 3.5 mg min−1 respirable mass. During a continued repeated process, the average exposure level was 2.5 × 104 cm−3, 30.3 μm2 cm−3, <116 μg m−3 for particulate matter. The TiO2 average exposure level was 4.2 μg m−3, which is well below the maximum recommended exposure limit of 300 μg m−3 for nTiO2 proposed by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. During an 8-hour exposure, the observed concentrations would result in a lung deposited surface area of 4.3 × 10−3 cm2 g−1 of lung tissue and 13 μg of TiO2 to the trachea-bronchi, and alveolar regions. The dose levels were well below the one hundredth of the no observed effect level (NOEL1/100) of 0.11 cm2 g−1 for granular biodurable particles and a daily no significant risk dose level of 44 μg day−1. These emission rates can be used in a mass flow model to predict the impact of process emissions on personal and environmental exposure levels