IJERPH, Vol. 18, Pages 9788: Occupational Exposure to Ultrafine Particles in Metal Additive Manufacturing: A Qualitative and Quantitative Risk Assessment (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Ultrafine particles (UFPs) can be released unintentionally during metal additive manufacturing (AM). Experts agree on the urgent need to increase the knowledge of the emerging risk of exposure to nanoparticles, although different points of view have arisen on how to do so. This article presents a case study conducted on a metal AM facility, focused on studying the exposure to incidental metallic UFP. It intends to serve as a pilot study on the application of different methodologies to manage this occupational risk, using qualitative and quantitative approaches that have been used to study exposure to engineered nanoparticles. Quantitative data were collected using a condensation particle counter (CPC), showing the maximum particle number concentration in manual cleaning tasks. Additionally, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray analyzer (EDS) measurements were performed, showing no significant change in the particles` chemical composition, size, or surface (rugosity) after printing. A qualitative approach was fulfilled using Control Banding Nanotool 2.0, which revealed different risk bands depending on the tasks performed. This article culminates in a critical analysis regarding the application of these two approaches in order to manage the occupational risk of exposure to incidental nanoparticles, raising the potential of combining both.