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Risk of Nanoparticle Exposure from Protective Clothing

In a study published in the journal ACS Applied Nano Materials, the release and contamination of engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) from personal protection clothes was explored.

Risk of Nanoparticle Exposure from Protective Clothing

Study: Engineered Nanoparticle Release from Personal Protective Clothing: Implications for Inhalation Exposure. Image Credit: Aleksandr Rybalko/

Growing Concerns over Resuspended ENPs

The emergence of novel uses for nanomaterials raises concerns about exposure and detrimental impacts on the environment and public health. The safety of leading scientists in labs and employees in manufacturing plants against contamination with engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) by inhaling or physical touch is a major issue as nanotechnology develops.

Personnel wearing compromised clothes are at significant risk of breathing ENPs that have been resuspended from the garment.

Furthermore, when scientists and employees leave the lab or manufacturing plant, they are uninformed of the possibility of ENP contact through compromised garments that they carry home, to the office, or to public locations. This could endanger non-employees beyond the place of work.

Physical exertions cause a considerable portion of nanoparticles accumulated on clothes to be redistributed in the atmosphere. Breathing exposure is increased as a result of this resuspension.

Single and tiny aggregates of ENPs may cause more inflammatory responses than microscale ENP aggregates. This study stresses the relevance of knowing NP resuspension as well as the state of ENP entrapment and adherence on protective garments.

Aim of the Study

There have been no research articles so far that assess the intensity of ENP contamination linked with generally used protective clothing textiles or identify the parameters that influence infiltration and resuspension of ENPs from polluted clothes.

This study aimed to investigate the possible exposure caused by everyday actions while using ENP-laden personal protective gear and to quantify the relative ENP to each type of fabric.

Furthermore, the goal was to determine ideal fabric features for defense against harmful ENPs by evaluating the major elements involved in ENP attachment and resuspension from these materials.

As a result, employees in many areas may be able to easily choose suitable personal protective apparel while working with particular forms of ENPs.

Important Findings of the Study

This research found significant particle discharge findings for all kinds of examined textiles. Cotton and polyester cotton textiles had the maximum level of discharge content from the aerosolizing of carbon black and aluminum oxide ENPs, whereas Tyvek and polypropylene had the smallest level of discharge content.

ENP adhesive forces are responsible for keeping some of the ENPs on the surface of the textile.

Van der Waals (vdW) attraction and capillary force are two essential forces that may be critical for carbon black and Al2O3 ENP adhesion, but it proved challenging to establish which force was integral for CNT ENPs owing to their non-circular form. This research demonstrated that the main force for ENP adherence to fibers of the fabric varies depending on external circumstances like humidity.

Capillary force varies markedly as a cloth absorbs moisture.

The Final Verdict

Ultimately, Tyvek is the superior material for retaining all three classes of tested ENPs, eliminating the risk of resuspending the ENPs and potentially exposing people. Nonetheless, this textile was not sufficiently long-lasting for employees to wear, and strenuous movements at the workplace might cause deformation or ripping of the Tyvek cloth, diminishing its barrier characteristics and allowing ENPs to penetrate.

The polypropylene textile is the second most efficient in capturing all three kinds of ENPs. Furthermore, three kinds of ENPs were discovered to cause certain variations with respect to adhesion onto the textile, and it was discovered that the Al2O3 ENPs adhered onto the textile the most, particularly on the Tyvek cloth, after simulations of work activities, in comparison with CNT and carbon black ENPs.

Cotton and polyester cotton lab coats were shown to be the least effective in retaining ENPs. Although these materials are the most robust, pleasant, and widely utilized in the work environment, they are not advised for usage when ENPs are involved.


Maksot, A., Sorna, S. M., et al. (2022). Engineered Nanoparticle Release from Personal Protective Clothing: Implications for Inhalation Exposure. ACS Applied Nano Materials. Available at:

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Shaheer Rehan

Written by

Shaheer Rehan

Shaheer is a graduate of Aerospace Engineering from the Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad. He has carried out research on a wide range of subjects including Aerospace Instruments and Sensors, Computational Dynamics, Aerospace Structures and Materials, Optimization Techniques, Robotics, and Clean Energy. He has been working as a freelance consultant in Aerospace Engineering for the past year. Technical Writing has always been a strong suit of Shaheer's. He has excelled at whatever he has attempted, from winning accolades on the international stage in match competitions to winning local writing competitions. Shaheer loves cars. From following Formula 1 and reading up on automotive journalism to racing in go-karts himself, his life revolves around cars. He is passionate about his sports and makes sure to always spare time for them. Squash, football, cricket, tennis, and racing are the hobbies he loves to spend his time in.


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