Determining Nanoparticle Inhalation Exposure in the Prosthetics Laboratory at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences Bethesda United States
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The increase of wounded warriors has amplified dramatically the need for prosthetics. Generation of particle matter occurred during the four steps of the prostheses manufacturing processes lamination, plasticization, thermoforming, and grinding. Particle matter from these manufacturing processes are hazardous to human health and suspicion exists that nano-sized aerosols generated during the process will increase this hazard. The author designed a gravimetric and direct reading research study to measure sub-micron particle size distributions in the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center WRNMMC prosthetics laboratory. The gravimetric reading consisted of a weight-based measurement, and direct reading used a particle count procedure. Weight analysis did not detect any dust, but X-ray diffraction revealed the presence of quartz, tridymite, and cristobalite. The result obtained from Nanoparticle Emission Assessment Technique showed that each process generated dominantly one type of particle. For particle sizes from 0.3 to 10 microns, no difference was identified between lamination and thermoforming p0.189. For nanoparticles, two groups emerged, namely, lamination and plasticization p1, as well as grinding and thermoforming, which generated many more nanoparticles p1. Plasterization generated the largest particle number concentration for particles between five and ten microns. Grinding and thermoforming generated most of the smaller particle number concentrations, and lamination was the least productive of particle number concentration. Although results were below occupational exposure levels, increases in particle numbers demonstrated additional exposures.