A lot of Québec workers are exposed to ultrafine particles. Usual occupational hygiene methods used to assess occupational exposures are not appropriate for the assessment of this ultrafine fraction of aerosols. Indeed, several studies suggest that the mass metrics are not suited for the risk assessment of nanometric particles, and that new approaches should therefore be developed. This research program specifically aims at resolving these issues.
Ultrafine particles produced in port facilities (metal dust, grain dust, gypsum dust, diesel engine exhaust (DEE)), in the construction industry (crystalline silica, DEE), in the mining industry (DEE), as well as in the nanotechnology industry (nanocellulose, carbon nanotubes, nanometals) will be assessed, among others. Assessments will include measurements of number concentrations and particle size distributions, as well as different characterization methods, such as electron microscopy. The implemented methods of controls in the different workplaces will also be assessed during the interventions.
The development of new knowledge about nanoparticles will allow to provide relevant information about occupational exposures, the proposal for original assessment methods, and the reduction and control of occupational exposures.