Safe Work Australia Recommends Classification of Carbon Nanotubes as Hazardous Chemicals

On October 22, 2012, Safe Work Australia announced the availability of a report entitled Human Health Hazard Assessment and Classification of Carbon Nanotubes, as well as an information sheet on the report. The report recommends that multi-walled carbon nanotubes should be classified as hazardous unless toxicological or other data for specific types imply otherwise. The National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) prepared the report in support of Safe Work Australia’s Nanotechnology Work Health and Safety Program. NICNAS extensively reviewed the published literature on the toxicity of carbon nanotubes, and concluded that multi-walled carbon nanotubes may cause damage to lungs through prolonged or repeated inhalation exposure. The report recommends classification as hazardous for repeated or prolonged inhalation exposure and for carcinogenicity. For all other endpoints, NICNAS found that carbon nanotubes either were not classified as hazardous, or cannot be classified as insufficient data are available. The information sheet summarizes the key findings from the report and discusses implications for manufacturers, importers, persons in control of a business or undertaking, and workers manufacturing or using products containing carbon nanotubes.

ICCM3 Adds Measures Concerning Nanotechnologies And Manufactured Nanomaterials To Global Plan Of Action

During the Third International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM3), which was held September 17-21, 2012, participants agreed to add the measures concerning nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials to the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) Global Plan of Action. The measures include “exploring the development of registers/inventories and/or market assessment activities of manufactured nanomaterials,” and “promoting the availability of information on the presence of manufactured nanomaterials within the product supply chain and throughout the life cycle, which could include possible labelling, consistent with relevant international obligations, and/or other forms of guidance relating to consumer products containing manufactured nanomaterials.” Participants also agreed to a resolution to continue work on manufactured nanomaterials as an “emerging policy issue” under SAICM, and to develop international technical and regulatory guidance and training materials for their sound management.  The Resolution invites the United Nations (UN) Committees of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) to review the applicability of the GHS criteria to manufactured nanomaterials and, if necessary, to prepare a work plan for adapting them.

U.S. Delegation May Present Nanotechnology Guidance at UN GHS Subcommittee Meeting

The U.S. delegation to the July 4-6, 2012, meeting of the United Nations (UN) Subcommittee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) is considering presenting an information paper on how to classify nanomaterials under the GHS. According to Kathy Landkrohn, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Directorate of Standards and Guidance, the paper would be presented under a work group examining the types of physical and chemical properties listed on safety data sheets (SDS). Landkrohn stated that a lack of data has impeded the work group’s ability to create a separate hazard class for nanomaterials.

B&C and Acta Will Hold an OSHA GHS Webinar

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C) and The Acta Group, L.L.C. (Acta) will hold a complimentary webinar on April 18, 2012, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) final rule revising the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) issued on March 26, 2012. The final rule aligns the HCS with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System for Chemical Classification and Labeling (GHS). OSHA estimates the rule is expected to impact some five million U.S. workplaces and have an annual cost of approximately $97 million.

The webinar will address the major changes to the HCS, including a general overview, revisions to hazard categories, training/information requirements, safety data sheet (SDS) modifications, and label requirements. It will also compare the revised HCS to global GHS adoption schemes. A question and answer session will follow. More specific detail oriented webinars will be provided as a follow-up. Speakers include:

  • Lynn L. Bergeson;
  • Andrew R. Bourne;
  • Lisa R. Burchi; and 
  • Leslie S. MacDougall.

Lynn L. Bergeson will moderate the program. 

The agenda and speaker profiles are available online.  The RSVP deadline is April 16, 2012.

Attendees are urged to review the B&C Clients and Friends memorandum on OSHA's final GHS rule. OSHA's final rule and related information are available online

UN Committee Will Discuss Ongoing Work on the Safety of Nanomaterials

During the June 29-July 1, 2009, meeting of the United Nations (UN) Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Substances (GHS), the Committee will discuss a paper entitled “Ongoing Work on the Safety of Nanomaterials.” The paper provides a summary of current activities by the European Union (EU), including the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program, International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The paper includes the following questions:

  • Can it be considered, for the same chemical (same [Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Number] and purity) that nanomaterials with new properties have the same hazards as conventional form?
  • Is it possible to distinguish for a same chemical, the properties of its different nanoforms?
  • How can this be done? Should new endpoints be determined?
  • To which extent information about nanomaterials need be provided?
  • What kind of information is needed?
  • What kind of communication tool is needed for this purpose?
  • What kind of collaboration can be suggested in order to contribute to clarification of nanomaterials hazard classification and indeed to heath safety and environmental issues of nanomaterials?