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What is the most relevant unit of measure?

Many parameters determine the choice of a relevant unit of measure to estimate the potential exposure. In the immediate term, this estimate will be done with different "metrics" (number, mass, surface, etc.). The ongoing work indicates that there will be no universal answer to this question but rather a metric relevant to each situation.

As part of Nano-INNOV plan, the CEA (“Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives”), the INERIS (“Institut national de l'environnement industriel et des risques”) and the INRS (“Institut national de recherche et de sécurité”) have been developed a methodological guide.  This guide allows to help people to characterizing emissions and exposures to aerosols when nanomaterials are processed or used during workplace operations. In order to improve the security and to preserve the health of the operators, recommendations describe:

  • the operating mode for a better evaluation of the occupational exposure ,
  • the measurement criteriato be considered  in terms of range of the particle size, aerosol fraction and concentration of air.

In 2015, l’OECD (“Organization for economic co-operation and development”) providesan harmonized tiered approach that is systematic, consistent, and practical for conducting exposure measurement, assessment to airborne nano-objetcs or off-line analyses of measurement samples.

Diagram representing various elements and processes in an occupational exposure scenario [Y. Ding et al., Journal of Hazardous Material (2016)].