Industrial Production and Professional Application of Manufactured Nanomaterials-Enabled End Products in Dutch Industries: Potential for Exposure

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Abstract

Background:

In order to make full use of the opportunities while responsibly managing the risks of working with manufactured nanomaterials (MNM), we need to gain insight into the potential level of exposure to MNM in the industry. Therefore, the goal of this study was to obtain an overview of the potential MNM exposure scenarios within relevant industrial sectors, applied exposure controls, and number of workers potentially exposed to MNM in Dutch industrial sectors producing and applying MNM-enabled end products in the Netherlands.

Methods:

A survey was conducted in three phases: (i) identification of MNM-enabled end products; (ii) identification of relevant industrial sectors; and (iii) a tiered telephone survey to estimate actual use of the products among 40 sector organizations/knowledge centres (Tier 1), 350 randomly selected companies (Tier 2), and 110 actively searched companies (Tier 3).

Results:

The most dominant industrial sectors producing or applying MNM-enabled end products (market penetration >5%) are shoe repair shops, automotive, construction, paint, metal, and textile cleaning industry. In the majority of the companies (76%), potential risks related to working with MNM are not a specific point of interest. The total number of workers potentially exposed to MNM during the production or application of MNM-enabled end products was estimated at approximately 3000 workers in the Netherlands. The results of this study will serve as a basis for in-depth exposure and health surveys that are currently planned in the Netherlands. In addition, the results can be used to identify the most relevant sectors for policy makers and future studies focussing on evaluating the risks of occupational exposure to MNM.

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