Nanomaterial exposures for worker, consumer and the general public
Exposures to nanomaterials comprise the exposure to nano-objects, to nanostructured materials or nanocomposites being ‘relatively’ pristine at the place of production or ‘aged’ at later stages. This review presents the state of the art and current short-comings in nanomaterial exposure measurements and assessments with a strong regulatory focus. Overall, release and the study of release processes are central for understanding, modelling and minimising possible exposure, which holds true for worker, consumer and the general public exposure. Nanomaterial exposure assessment is furthest developed in the occupational field with different measurement devices, methods and significant data being already available. The biggest challenge here is harmonisation. Consumer exposure assessments are mainly based on combining release measurements and modelling using exposure scenarios since measurements on a regularly basis are not feasible. A tiered approach similar to the already established one for work places would be a significant improvement. There also is a strong need to further develop and harmonise methods. The least quantitative information is available for exposure of the general public via the environment. The measurement and analysis methods are limited and expensive in cases when manufactured nanomaterials have to be identified and quantified. Therefore, environmental nanomaterial concentrations are mostly modelled. Many parameters have to be estimated with uncertainties being often very high. The summary of the current state of the art and challenges for nanomaterial exposure assessment for workers, consumers and of the public via the environment is performed to promote advancements in the different exposure assessment fields by facilitating cross-fertilization.