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Open AccessArticle

Workers’ Exposure Assessment during the Production of Graphene Nanoplatelets in R&D Laboratory

1
Research Center for Nanotechnology Applied to Engineering (CNIS), Sapienza University of Rome, I-00185 Rome, Italy
2
Department of Astronautical, Electrical and Energy Engineering (DIAEE), Sapienza University of Rome, I-00184 Rome, Italy
3
Italian Workers’ Compensation Authority—Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Epidemiology and Hygiene, Via Fontana Candida 1, I-00078 Rome, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(8), 1520; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10081520
Received: 7 July 2020 / Revised: 30 July 2020 / Accepted: 31 July 2020 / Published: 3 August 2020
Widespread production and use of engineered nanomaterials in industrial and research settings raise concerns about their health impact in the workplace. In the last years, graphene-based nanomaterials have gained particular interest in many application fields. Among them, graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) showed superior electrical, optical and thermal properties, low-cost and availability. Few and conflicting results have been reported about toxicity and potential effects on workers’ health, during the production and handling of these nanostructures. Due to this lack of knowledge, systematic approaches are needed to assess risks and quantify workers’ exposure to GNPs. This work applies a multi-metric approach to assess workers’ exposure during the production of GNPs, based on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) methodology by integrating real-time measurements and personal sampling. In particular, we analyzed the particle number concentration, the average diameter and the lung deposited surface area of airborne nanoparticles during the production process conducted by thermal exfoliation in two different ways, compared to the background. These results have been integrated by electron microscopic and spectroscopic analysis on the filters sampled by personal impactors. The study identifies the process phases potentially at risk for workers and reports quantitative information about the parameters that may influence the exposure in order to propose recommendations for a safer design of GNPs production process. View Full-Text
Keywords: nanotechnologies; graphene nanoplatelets; 2D nanostructures; occupational safety and health; exposure assessment; risk mitigation nanotechnologies; graphene nanoplatelets; 2D nanostructures; occupational safety and health; exposure assessment; risk mitigation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bellagamba, I.; Boccuni, F.; Ferrante, R.; Tombolini, F.; Marra, F.; Sarto, M.S.; Iavicoli, S. Workers’ Exposure Assessment during the Production of Graphene Nanoplatelets in R&D Laboratory. Nanomaterials 2020, 10, 1520. https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10081520

AMA Style

Bellagamba I, Boccuni F, Ferrante R, Tombolini F, Marra F, Sarto MS, Iavicoli S. Workers’ Exposure Assessment during the Production of Graphene Nanoplatelets in R&D Laboratory. Nanomaterials. 2020; 10(8):1520. https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10081520

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bellagamba, Irene; Boccuni, Fabio; Ferrante, Riccardo; Tombolini, Francesca; Marra, Fabrizio; Sarto, Maria S.; Iavicoli, Sergio. 2020. "Workers’ Exposure Assessment during the Production of Graphene Nanoplatelets in R&D Laboratory" Nanomaterials 10, no. 8: 1520. https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10081520

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