Articles online

Airborne Nanoparticle Pollution in a Wire Electrical Discharge Machining Workshop and Potential Health Risks

Category: Air Pollution and Health Effects

Volume: 15 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 284-294
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2014.09.0219
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Rui Chen1, Xiaofei Shi2, Ru Bai1, Weiqing Rang2, Lingling Huo1, Lin Zhao2, Dingxin Long2, David Y.H. Pui3, Chunying Chen 1

  • 1 CAS Key Lab for Biomedical Effects of Nanomaterials and Nanosafety, National Center for Nanoscience and Technology of China, Beijing 100190, China
  • 2 School of Public Health, University of South China, Hengyang 421001, China
  • 3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA


Field survey and laboratorial evaluation on the aerosol pollution in WEDM workshop.
The number concentration and mass concentration of aerosol were considered. 
Workers exposed to high level ultrafine nanoparticles with metal elements.
The aerosol particles showed higher ROS producing ability and cellular toxicity. 
Suggestions on avoiding exposure hazards of WEDM were provided.


The environmental pollution associated with electrical discharge machining is not yet clearly understood. Airborne exposure to nanoscale and respirable particles were investigated with regard to the aerosol characteristics of a wire electrical discharge machining (WEDM) workshop. The total number concentration of the aerosol was multimodal, with the highest peak maxima during the working hours of 10:00 am and 3:00 pm. The majority of the released particles were smaller than d = 100 nm, with the maximum amount sized 40 nm. A large quantity of metallic elements, including Fe, Al and Cu, were found in the aerosol particulates coming from WEDM processing. Furthermore, the aerosol particles exhibited higher cellular toxicity and ROS producing ability in human alveolar epithelial cells (16HBE) when compared to the atmospheric background. Our results indicate substantial hazards arising from exposure to polluted atmosphere of a WEDM workshop. Effective exposure controls and protections are thus strongly recommended.


Aerosols Particle distribution Elemental concentration Risk assessment Toxicity

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