Exposure assessment of carbon nanotubes at pilot factory focusing on quantitative determination of catalytic metals.


OBJECTIVES The application of multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) currently extends to various fields. However, it has been reported that exposure to CNT causes hazardous effects on animals and cells. The purpose of this study was to quantify the exposure to MWCNT in MWCNT/polymer composites for exposure assessment. We focused on catalytic metals included in the MWCNT and the diameter of dust released during the working processes. Although the Co in MWCNTs is not a common catalyst, it was used as a tracer in this study. METHODS A field survey was conducted in a MWCNT/polymer composite pilot factory. Airborne MWCNTs were monitored using black carbon monitors (BCMs) and optical particle sizers (OPSs) and collected on a filter. The MWCNT powder, all polymer resins used during the working processes, and the filter were analyzed in our lab using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and electron microscopic observation. RESULTS The mean concentration of airborne MWCNT contained in the collected dust was 0.92 μg/m3 a few meters away from the extruder during the working processes (using elemental analysis). The maximum concentration measured using BCMs was shown to be seven times higher than the base concentration during the pelletizing process of polycarbonate (PC) and MWCNT composites. However, free, isolated, and unbound agglomerated MWCNTs were not detected using scanning electron microscopic (SEM) observation. CONCLUSIONS The result obtained by elemental analysis indicated it was possible to quantify MWCNT in composites. The mean concentration at this factory was lower than the recommended exposure limit. However, additional studies during the pelletizing process are required in the future.

DOI: 10.1539/joh.17-0002-OA

Cite this paper

@article{Kato2017ExposureAO, title={Exposure assessment of carbon nanotubes at pilot factory focusing on quantitative determination of catalytic metals.}, author={Nobuyuki Kato and Taiki Nagaya and Yasuto Matsui and Minoru Yoneda}, journal={Journal of occupational health}, year={2017} }