Natural and anthropogenic processes, including nanotechnology, are the sources of airborne nanoparticles (NPs), fine and coarse particles emitted into our environment. Concerns about the health effects of NPs, has resulted in calls from various organisations, groups and individuals to assess exposure-related risks to health.
Many anthropogenic sources of airborne particles in workplaces such as welding, smelting and combustion engine processes have existed for more than 100 years, whilst other sources such as laser printers have been present for many decades. And more recently, the twenty-first century has seen what can be described as an exponential increase in nanotechnologies that are also sources of airborne particles.
Workers within nanotechnology-related industries have the potential to be exposed to uniquely engineered materials with novel sizes, shapes, and physical and chemical properties. Although some particles may initially be emitted as NPs, agglomeration processes will often result in exposure to particles across many orders of magnitude in size, from the nanoscale to the supermicrometre scale. Although there is a reasonably good understanding of the dynamics of airborne particle formation and transport, consensus on methods to characterise exposure to NPs is lacking.
This course utilises a framework of ‘anticipate, recognise, evaluate and control’ to introduce the fundamentals of engineered nanoparticle risk management. Knowledge from related epidemiological and toxicological studies, particle measurement and control methodologies are utilised in support of evidence based practice.