Article

Health and Safety Practices in the Nanomaterials Workplace: Results from an International Survey

Center for Nanotechnology in Society, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106-2150, USA.
Environmental Science and Technology (Impact Factor: 5.48). 05/2008; 42(9):3155-62. DOI: 10.1021/es702158q
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This article reports the findings of an international survey of nanomaterials firms and laboratories regarding their environmental health and safety (EHS) programs, engineering controls, personal protective equipment (PPE), exposure monitoring, waste disposal, product stewardship, and risk beliefs. While many participants reported not believing that nanomaterials pose special risks, nanospecific EHS programs were still widely reported. Most nanospecific EHS programs appeared to build from general EHS programs but included nanospecific workplace engineering controls and recommendations for clothing, gloves, eye protection, and respirators. Organizations with nanospecific EHS programs also reported providing product (safe use) guidance to consumers. However, workplace monitoring and nanospecific waste disposal were uneven and were only associated with the subset of organizations believing in special risks. A majority of organizations expressed a need for more toxicological information and EHS guidance. Overall, this study suggests that nanomaterials firms and laboratories are already attentive to nanospecific EHS and product stewardship issues. However, improved risk communication is needed to further the implementation of related programs. Organizations that are wholly inattentive to EHS would likely engage in nanospecific EHS upon implementing a staffed, general EHS program.

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    • "In the last decade, evidence of the toxicity of nanomaterials (NM) and engineered nanomaterials (ENM) has led to a latent concern about hazards for humans and the environment, and several surveys regarding usage (Schmid and Riediker 2008), precautions (Helland et al., 2008), safety practices (Conti et al., 2008) and risk perception (Engeman et al., 2012) have been conducted in companies related to ENM. Those studies note the uncertainty in ENM risk knowledge, suggest a preference for adapting safe handling practices and recognize that there is insufficient information to establish specific regulations. "
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    • "In the last decade, evidence of the toxicity of nanomaterials (NM) and engineered nanomaterials (ENM) has led to a latent concern about hazards for humans and the environment, and several surveys regarding usage (Schmid and Riediker 2008), precautions (Helland et al., 2008), safety practices (Conti et al., 2008) and risk perception (Engeman et al., 2012) have been conducted in companies related to ENM. Those studies note the uncertainty in ENM risk knowledge, suggest a preference for adapting safe handling practices and recognize that there is insufficient information to establish specific regulations. "
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    ABSTRACT: Current evidence of engineered nanomaterials' (ENM) toxicity has led to a latent concern about hazards for both humans and the environment. For this reason, some efforts have been made to suggest frameworks or other guidance to regulate ENM handling; however, the real exposure risk to humans has not been well established. The aims of this work were to analyze the difficulties in establishing regulations for ENM and to discuss some considerations that may be helpful for policy makers involved in the regulation of ENM. Difficulties in establishing regulations are based on the novel properties of ENM associated with cytotoxic effects, the insufficiency of standardized methods to test those effects and the lack of epidemiological evidence of ENM toxicity, especially in occupational settings. Nevertheless, we offer some suggestions for establishing regulations, which include frameworks oriented towards protecting personnel exposed to ENM without decreasing production. In addition, we propose an ENM data sheet to offer available information of ENM. Finally, ethical aspects should also be considered in developing ENM regulations because every person who is working around or consuming ENM has the right to be informed about the potential risk. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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    • "This is an area where the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health (among other federal agencies that fund nanotech research) could aid in nano-worker safety. Recent studies in science journals show that there have been growing concerns over the safety of nano-workers (Conti et al. 2008; Schmid and Riediker 2008; Balas et al. 2010; Schulte et al. 2014). While some guidelines for nanotech worker safety exist, researchers question whether they are sufficient (Kuzma and Besley 2008; Bowman and Gilligan 2010; Balbus et al. 2007). "
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