Occupational Exposure and Environmental Release: The Case Study of Pouring TiO2 and Filler Materials for Paint Production

Ana Sofia Fonseca, Anna-Kaisa Viitanen, Tomi Kanerva, Arto Säämänen, Olivier Aguerre-Chariol, Sebastien Fable, Adrien Dermigny, Nicolas Karoski, Isaline Fraboulet, Ismo Kalevi Koponen, Camilla Delpivo, Alejandro Vilchez Villalba, Socorro Vázquez-Campos, Alexander Christian Østerskov Jensen, Signe Hjortkjær Nielsen, Nicklas Sahlgren, Per Axel Clausen, Bianca Xuan Nguyen Larsen, Vivi Kofoed-Sørensen, Keld Alstrup JensenJoonas Koivisto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Pulmonary exposure to micro- and nanoscaled particles has been widely linked to adverse health effects and high concentrations of respirable particles are expected to occur within and around many industrial settings. In this study, a field-measurement campaign was performed at an industrial manufacturer, during the production of paints. Spatial and personal measurements were conducted and results were used to estimate the mass flows in the facility and the airborne particle release to the outdoor environment. Airborne particle number concentration (1 × 103-1.0 × 104 cm−3), respirable mass (0.06-0.6 mg m−3), and PM10 (0.3-6.5 mg m−3) were measured during pouring activities. In overall; emissions from pouring activities were found to be dominated by coarser particles >300 nm. Even though the raw materials were not identified as nanomaterials by the manufacturers, handling of TiO2 and clays resulted in release of nanometric particles to both workplace air and outdoor environment, which was confirmed by TEM analysis of indoor and stack emission samples. During the measurement period, none of the existing exposure limits in force were exceeded. Particle release to the outdoor environment varied from 6 to 20 g ton−1 at concentrations between 0.6 and 9.7 mg m−3 of total suspended dust depending on the powder. The estimated release of TiO2 to outdoors was 0.9 kg per year. Particle release to the environment is not expected to cause any major impact due to atmospheric dilution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number418
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Environmental release
  • Exposure determinants
  • Occupational exposure
  • Paint industry
  • Particle emissions
  • Powder handling


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