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Bioaccessibility studies of ferro-chromium alloy particles for a simulated inhalation scenario: A comparative study with the pure metals and stainless steel
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemistry, Surface and Corrosion Science.
Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Metalúrgicas, CENIM-CSIC, Madrid, Spain.
KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Chemistry, Surface and Corrosion Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2145-3650
International Chromium Development Association, Paris, France.
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2010 (English)In: Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, ISSN 1551-3777, E-ISSN 1551-3793, Vol. 6, no 3, 441-455 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The European product safety legislation, REACH, requires that companies that manufacture, import, or use chemicals demonstrate safe use and high level of protection of their products placed on the market from a human health and environmental perspective. This process involves detailed assessment of potential hazards for various toxicity endpoints induced by the use of chemicals with a minimum use of animal testing. Such an assessment requires thorough understanding of relevant exposure scenarios including material characteristics and intrinsic properties and how, for instance, physical and chemical properties change from the manufacturing phase, throughout use, to final disposal. Temporary or permanent adverse health effects induced by particles depend either on their shape or physical characteristics, and/or on chemical interactions with the particle surface upon human exposure. Potential adverse effects caused by the exposure of metal particles through the gastrointestinal system, the pulmonary system, or the skin, and their subsequent potential for particle dissolution and metal release in contact with biological media, show significant gaps of knowledge. In vitro bioaccessibility testing at conditions of relevance for different exposure scenarios, combined with the generation of a detailed understanding of intrinsic material properties and surface characteristics, are in this context a useful approach to address aspects of relevance for accurate risk and hazard assessment of chemicals, including metals and alloys and to avoid the use of in vivo testing. Alloys are essential engineering materials in all kinds of applications in society, but their potential adverse effects on human health and the environment are very seldom assessed. Alloys are treated in REACH as mixtures of their constituent elements, an approach highly inappropriate because intrinsic properties of alloys generally are totally different compared with their pure metal components. A large research effort was therefore conducted to generate quantitative bioaccessibility data for particles of ferro-chromium alloys compared with particles of the pure metals and stainless steel exposed at in vitro conditions in synthetic biological media of relevance for particle inhalation and ingestion. All results are presented combining bioaccessibility data with aspects of particle characteristics, surface composition, and barrier properties of surface oxides. Iron and chromium were the main elements released from ferro-chromium alloys upon exposure in synthetic biological media. Both elements revealed time-dependent release processes. One week exposures resulted in very small released particle fractions being less than 0.3% of the particle mass at acidic conditions and less than 0.001% in near pH-neutral media. The extent of Fe released from ferro-chromium alloy particles was significantly lower compared with particles of pure Fe, whereas Cr was released to a very low and similar extent as from particles of pure Cr and stainless steel. Low release rates are a result of a surface oxide with passive properties predominantly composed of chromium(III)-rich oxides and silica and, to a lesser extent, of iron(II,III)oxides. Neither the relative bulk alloy composition nor the surface composition can be used to predict or assess the extent of metals released in different synthetic biological media. Ferro-chromium alloys cannot be assessed from the behavior of their pure metal constituents

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 6, no 3, 441-455 p.
Keyword [en]
Ferro-chromium alloys, Bioaccessibility, Surface oxide In vitro testing, Chemical speciation
National Category
Physical Chemistry
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-14309DOI: 10.1002/ieam.32ScopusID: 2-s2.0-77954707280OAI: diva2:332175

QC 20100803

Available from: 2010-08-03 Created: 2010-08-03 Last updated: 2016-05-02Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Metal Particles – Hazard or Risk? Elaboration and Implementation of a Research Strategy from a Surface and Corrosion Perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Metal Particles – Hazard or Risk? Elaboration and Implementation of a Research Strategy from a Surface and Corrosion Perspective
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Do metal particles (including particles of pure metals, alloys, metal oxides and compounds) pose a hazard or risk to human health? In the light of this question, this thesis summarizes results from research conducted on metal particles, and describes the elaboration and implementation of an in vitro test methodology to study metal release from particles through corrosion and dissolution processes in synthetic biological media relevant for human exposure through inhalation/ingestion and dermal contact.

Bioaccessible metals are defined as the pool of released metals from particles that potentially could be made available for absorption by humans or other organisms. Studies of bioaccessible metals from different metal particles within this thesis have shown that the metal release process is influenced by material properties, particle specific properties, size distribution, surface area and morphology, as well as the chemistry of synthetic biological test media simulating various human exposure scenarios. The presence of metal particles in proximity to humans and the fact that metals can be released from particles to a varying extent is the hazard referred to in the title.

The bioavailable metal fraction of the released metals (the fraction available for uptake/absorption by humans through different exposure routes) is usually significantly smaller than the bioaccessible pool of released metals, and is largely related to the chemical form and state of oxidation of the released metals. Chemical speciation measurements of released chromium for instance revealed chromium to be complexed to its non-available form in simulated lung fluids. Such measurements provide an indirect measure of the potential risk for adverse health effects, when performed at relevant experimental conditions.

A more direct way to assess risks is to conduct toxicological in-vitro testing of metal particles, for instance on lung cell cultures relevant for human inhalation. Induced toxicity of metal particles on lung cells includes both the effect of the particles themselves and of the released metal fraction (including bioaccessible and bioavailable metals), the latter shown to be less predominant. The toxic response was clearly influenced by various experimental conditions such as sonication treatment of particles and the presence of serum proteins.

Thorough characterization of metal particles assessing parameters including chemical surface composition, degree of agglomeration in solution, size distribution, surface area and morphology was performed and discussed in relation to generated results of bioaccessibility, bioavailability and induced toxicity. One important conclusion was that neither the surface composition nor the bulk composition can be used to assess the extent of metals released from chromium-based alloy particles. These findings emphasize that information on physical-chemical properties and surface characteristics of particles is essential for an in-depth understanding of metal release processes and for further use and interpretation of bioaccessibility data to assess hazard and reduce any risks induced by human exposure to metal particles.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2009. xiv, 69 p.
Trita-CHE-Report, ISSN 1654-1081 ; 2009:56
ferro-chromium alloy, metal particles, bioaccessibility, chemical speciation, dermal contact, surface oxide, in-vitro testing, chemical speciation, cu, copper, comet assay, intracellular, ultrafine, in vitro, A549, cytotoxicity, DNA damage, nanoparticles, particle characterization, artificial sweat, nickel release, nickel powder particles, particle loadings, release kinetics, surface area, copper release, powder particles, synthetic body fluids, simulation of interstitial lung conditions, skin contact, metal release, stainless steel, particles, test method
National Category
Physical Chemistry Analytical Chemistry Analytical Chemistry
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-11695 (URN)978-91-7415-472-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-12-14, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
QC 20100803Available from: 2009-12-04 Created: 2009-12-03 Last updated: 2010-08-03Bibliographically approved

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