Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology: Managing the Health and Safety Concerns Associated with Engineered Nanomaterials

Publication Date : 2009
Code : 120
1,132 Visited Entry Date : 2017/10/04


Volume 104 Pages
Document type Report
Subject Occupational Safety

In October 2005, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released for public comment the draft document, Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology: An Information Exchange with NIOSH. Based on feedback received, NIOSH revised and updated the document in July 2006 and sought further public com­ment. This draft report has been widely cited, and the final version of the report should serve as a vital resource for stakeholders (including occupational safety and health professionals, researchers, policy makers, risk assessors, and workers in the industry) who wish to understand more about the safety and health implications of nanotechnology in the workplace.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed this document to provide an overview of what is known about the potential hazards of engineered nanoparticles and measures that can be taken to minimize workplace exposures. The information and guidelines presented here are intended to aid in evaluating the potential hazard of exposure to engineered nanomaterials and to set the stage for the development of more comprehensive guidelines for reducing potential workplace exposures in the wide range of tasks and processes that use nanomaterials. The information and recommendations in this document are intended to aid in assessment of the potential hazard of engineered nanomaterials and to set the stage for the development of more comprehensive guidelines for reducing potential workplace exposures.

With the publication of this document, NIOSH hopes to do the following:

- Raise awareness of the occupational safety and health issues being identified in the rapidly moving and changing science involving implications and applications of nanotechnology.

- Use the best information available to make recommendations on occupational safety and health practices in the production and use of nanomaterials.

- Facilitate an exchange of information between NIOSH and its external partners from ongoing research, including success stories, applications, and case studies.

- Respond to requests from industry, labor, academia, and other partners who are seeking science-based, authoritative guidelines.

- Identify information gaps where few or no data exist and where research is needed.

This document reviews what is currently known about nanoparticle toxicity, process emissions and exposure assessment, engineering controls, and personal protective equipment. This updated version of the document incorporates some of the latest results of NIOSH research, but it is only a starting point. The document serves a dual purpose: it is a summary of NIOSH's current thinking and interim recommendations; and it is a request from NIOSH to occupational safety and health practitioners, researchers, product innovators and manufacturers, employers, workers, interest group members, and the general public to exchange information that will ensure that no worker suffers material impairment of safety or health as nanotechnology develops.




Executive Summary




1 Introduction


2 Purpose


3 Scope


4 Descriptions and Definitions

   4.1 Nano-objects

   4.2 Ultrafine Particles

   4.3 Engineered Nanoparticles

   4.4 Nanoaerosol

   4.5 Agglomerate

   4.6 Aggregate


5 Potential Health Concerns

   5.1 Exposure Routes

   5.2 Effects Seen in Animal Studies

      5.2.1 Polytetrafluoroethylenefume

      5.2.2 Carbon nanotubes

   5.3 Observations from Epidemiological Studies Involving Fine and Ultrafine Particles

   5.4 Hypotheses from Animal and Epidemiological Studies


6 Potential Safety Hazards

   6.1 Fire and Explosion Risk

   6.2 Risks of Catalytic Reactions


7 Exposure Assessment and Characterization

   7.1 Workplace Exposures

      7.1.1 Size-fractionated aerosol sampling

      7.1.2 Real-time aerosol sampling

      7.1.3 Surface-area measurements 

      7.1.4 Particle number concentration measurement

      7.1.5 Surface-area estimation

      7.1.6 Particle number concentration mapping

   7.2 Sampling Strategy


8 Guidelines for Working with Engineered Nanomaterials

   8.1 Potential for Occupational Exposure

   8.2 Factors Affecting Exposure to Nanomaterials

   8.3 Elements of a Risk Management Program

      8.3.1 Engineering controls

      8.3.2 Dust collection efficiency of filters

      8.3.3 Work practices

      8.3.4 Personal protective clothing

      8.3.5 Respirators

      8.3.6 Cleanup and disposal of nanomaterials


9 Occupational Health Surveillance


10 Research Needs




Sources of Additional Information


  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Published by
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