Assessment of airborn multiwalled carbon nanotubes in a manufactoring environment
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This study was carried out in a factory producing multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) by the catalytic chemical vapor deposition method in a pyrolysis reactor. Air samples of the personal breathing areas were collected simultaneously on mixed cellulose ester filters, for analysis by transmission electron s (TEM), and on high-purity quartz filters for thermal-optical analysis of elemental carbon (EC). It is found that the production of MWCNTs is accompanied by the release of the MWCNT structures in the air of different working zones. The concentration of respirable aerosol in the personal breathing areas, averaged over an 8-hour period, ranges from 0.54 to 6.11 μg/m3 based on EC. Airborne MWCNTs were found in the form of agglomerates that range in size from about 1 to 10 μm. These data are consistent with measurements in different plants by two other international groups (from the United States and Sweden) using similar methodology (TEM in combination with EC analysis). In the absence of convincing data on the potential health risks of MWCNTs, and following the principle of reasonable precautions, preventive measures should be taken to minimize exposure to these materials.
KeywordsElemental Carbon Transmission Electron Microscopy Diesel Particulate Matter Transmission Electron Microscopy Image Mixed Cellulose Ester Filter
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