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Process-generated nanoparticles from ceramic tile sintering: Emissions, exposure and environmental release

AuthorsFonseca, A. S.; Viana, Mar; Querol, Xavier; Francisco, I. de; Estepa, L. C.; Borrell, Carme; Lennikov, V.; Fuente, Germán F. de la
KeywordsOccupational exposure
Industrial laser furnace
New particle formation
Particle transport
Ultrafine particles
Indoor air
Issue Date2016
CitationScience of the Total Environment 565: 922-932 (2016)
AbstractThe ceramic industry is an industrial sector in need of significant process changes, which may benefit from innovative technologies such as laser sintering of ceramic tiles. Such innovations result in a considerable research gap within exposure assessment studies for process-generated ultrafine and nanoparticles. This study addresses this issue aiming to characterise particle formation, release mechanisms and their impact on personal exposure during a tile sintering activity in an industrial-scale pilot plant, as a follow-up of a previous study in a laboratory-scale plant. In addition, possible particle transformations in the exhaust system, the potential for particle release to the outdoor environment, and the effectiveness of the filtration system were also assessed. For this purpose, a tiered measurement strategy was conducted. The main findings evidence that nanoparticle emission patterns were strongly linked to temperature and tile chemical composition, and mainly independent of the laser treatment. Also, new particle formation (from gaseous precursors) events were detected, with nanoparticles < 30 nm in diameter being formed during the thermal treatment. In addition, ultrafine and nano-sized airborne particles were generated and emitted into workplace air during sintering process on a statistically significant level. These results evidence the risk of occupational exposure to ultrafine and nanoparticles during tile sintering activity since workers would be exposed to concentrations above the nano reference value (NRV; 4 × 10 cm), with 8-hour time weighted average concentrations in the range of 1.4 × 10 cm and 5.3 × 10 cm. A potential risk for nanoparticle and ultrafine particle release to the environment was also identified, despite the fact that the efficiency of the filtration system was successfully tested and evidenced a > 87% efficiency in particle number concentrations removal.
DescriptionUnder a Creative Commons license.-- et al.
Publisher version (URL)http://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.01.106
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.01.106
e-issn: 1879-1026
issn: 0048-9697
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(ICMA) Artículos
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