What are Diesel Nanoparticles?

Learn about the health risks of Diesel Nanoparticles?



The carcinogenic properties of Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) Nanoparticles are well documented.


The diesel exhaust fumes emited by heavy machinery in many of Australia's underground mines could be one of the biggest occupational health crisis since the peak of the asbestos disaster.

diesel partituclate nanoparticles 


In 2012 the UN World Health Organisation (WHO) declaired that Diesel Exhaust Emissions are a Class 1 Carcinogen. Diesel Exhaust Emissions comprise of; Gaseous components (CO, NOx, SOx, HC etc) Particulate components- Diesel Particulate matter (DPM).

Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) is made up of Carbon soot chains ( a byproduct of the combustion process and are covered with solid metals, hydrocarbons, aldehydes and other chemicals.

The Problem of Diesel Nanoparticles.

diesel particulate flurograph

Nano diesel particulate matter (nDPM) is so small it is described as being less than a hundredth of the width of a human hair. Being very small basically all below 1 micron (1000 nanometres) in diameter, and the majority are less than 100 nanometres in diameter the human body has NO natural defence to particles this small, larger particles are trapped in the airways and lung, Nano diesel particulate matter (nDPM) “nanoparticles” pass directly from lungs to blood and can show up anywhere in body. nDPM can pass directly from nose through nerves to brain.

Clinical studies on the mechanism of translocation of ultrafine particles (UFPs) pathway for the cardiovascular effects of particulate air pollution. Nemmar et al Study, 2002 (figure right) This study confirmed that Nanoparticulate quickly translocates into blood circulation of the body and as such can be traced around entire body. Takes many hours for the body to expel them.

The UN WHO Diesel Particulate Matter Nanoparticles (DPM) Carcinogen classification mainly to do with Lung Cancer. However there are other nano DPM health effects that span a far wider than lung cancer and include Bladder Cancer (Latifofic et al, 2015) DNA Damage (Duan et al, 2016) Blood Vessel Function (Mills et al, 2005 )

A new way of measuring DPM emissions (in Australia) - Particle Number rather than Mass

The standard unit of measuring Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) emissions from both vehicle tailpipes and personnel atmospheric exposure in Australia has been by way of mass, to measure the Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL) in underground environments set by Resource Regulators and AIOH for DPM in Australian states is 0.1 mg/m3 (measured as elemental carbon).

However modern research indicates the exposure limit should be lowered to less than 0.025 mg/m3, and should measure the number and size of sub-100 nanometre particles.

Overseas legislation (i.e US Tier system / EURO classification) looks at the number and size of particles being emitted.


Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) mass can be well controlled but the total particle number may not be well controlled and a vast number of smaller particles that have negligible mass This is illustrated to right (Source: Dieselnet.com): diesel particulate nanoparticle graph

Blue line: Typical mass distribution of particles being emitted from an engine ranked by particle size, Mainly above 0.1 micron

Red line: Shows the number of particles ranked by size. Mainly below 0.1 micron The smaller the nanoparticle the Harder to filter / more dangerous the nanoparticle is to human health.


Freudenberg Filtration Technologies recognise this and test all our Diesel Particulate Filter technologies for both mass and nanoparticle number reduction performance.

Freudenberg Filtration Technologies microfresh® Diesel Exhaust Filters offer the highest level of nanoparticle protection available.

Developed specifically for use in the underground coal mining where miners experience extreme working conditions. The DA filter will help remove diesel particulate from the exhaust of heavy diesel machinery operating underground and in confined spaces.

(Tested to Australian Standard AS 2420)non-flammable to 960°C making it the ideal choice in the explosive atmosphere of an underground coal mine.

In recent tests ( underground mine ventilation air had more diesel nanoparticles in it than the actual exhaust coming directly out of vehicles fitted with Freudenberg Filtration Technologies  nano diesel particulate matter filtration ) (nDPMf)

No matter where your operation is whether it be underground mining or enclosed confined space Operations Freudenberg Filtration Technologies have you breathing easier.

You can benefit from the Freudenberg expertise now!

Learn more about Diesel Particulate Filters for Coal Mining

Learn more about Disposable Diesel Exhaust Nanoparticle Filters for Coal Mining

For more information on Diesel Particulate Nanoparticle Filters please contact Freudenberg Filtration Technologies

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