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Open Access A Novel System for Source Characterization and Controlled Human Exposure to Nanoparticle Aggregates Generated During Gas–Metal Arc Welding

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Abstract:

The aim of this study was to achieve a method to perform detailed characterization and human exposure studies of nanosized and nanostructured aerosol particles. The source chosen was mild steel, active gas, arc welding fume. The setup consisted of a generation chamber, where welding can be performed, connected to an airtight stainless steel 22 m3 exposure chamber. Instrumentation, consisting of a tapered element oscillating microbalance, a scanning mobility particle sizer, and a sampler for electron microscopy and particle-induced X-ray emission analysis was connected to the stainless steel chamber. The feasibility of the system for human exposure studies was evaluated by exposing 31 human volunteers, in groups of three, to a test aerosol containing 1 mg/m3 welding fumes and to conditioned, filtered air. The results show that an aerosol that accurately represents dilute welding fume exposures that occur in workplaces can be produced in a controlled manner, and that the experimental setup can be used for 6 h, double-blind, exposures of human subjects. Particle mass concentration levels could be varied from <5 μg/m3 to more than 1000 μg/m3. Fumes from metal active gas welding showed a unimodal size distribution with a mean mobility diameter of 160 nm, transmission electron microscopy showed aggregates with a clearly nanosized structure.

Copyright 2013 American Association for Aerosol Research

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02786826.2012.724733

Affiliations: 1: Department of Design Sciences,Ergonomics and Aerosol Technology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden 2: Department of Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine,Lund University, Lund, Sweden 3: Department of Medicine,Huddinge, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden 4: Department of Physics, Solid State Physics,Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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