On November 23, 2017, the French National Research and Safety Institute for the Prevention of Occupational Accidents and Diseases (INRS) published a report summarizing studies and research completed in 2016 and in progress in 2017. According to the report, INRS action on manufactured nanomaterials has three objectives: (1) making knowledge on hazards available to the working world; (2) designing tools for identifying, characterizing, and measuring occupational exposures; and (3) proposing risk prevention approaches and tools for firms and laboratories that produce or handle these materials. In 2016, INRS completed a study entitled “Impact of sources and of the environment on confinement of nanoparticulate pollutants by collective protective equipment.” The objective of the study was to develop the tools necessary for assessing the effectiveness of collective protection systems, based on ventilation, for protecting people from nanoparticle aerosols. Three focuses for action were identified: characterizing the sources of nanoparticle aerosols; studying the airflow factors in degradation of the confinement of ventilated enclosures; and developing models for numerically simulating the dispersion of nanoaerosols at workplaces (predictive ventilation). According to INRS, the results made it possible to identify the main nanomaterial aerosol sources present in ventilated enclosures. An experimental method of characterizing the generation flow rates of these sources that is applicable out in the field was then developed and validated. A realistic predictive model for the variation in pollutant nanoaerosols in work atmospheres was designed.
Studies in progress in 2017 include:
- Study of the effect of agglomeration on the respiratory toxicological properties and the toxicokinetics of inhaled titanium dioxide nanoparticles in rats (2013-2017);
- Study of neuro-inflammation and of potential disruptions of the blood-brain barrier in adult and old rats exposed to nanoparticulate titanium dioxide by inhalation (2014-2017);
- A common European approach for regulatory assessment of nanomaterials (NANOREG) (2013-2017);
- Development of a smart experimental approach for assessing the hazard related to nanomaterials (European project SMARTNANOTOX) (2016-2020);
- Performance of real-time exposure monitoring applied to nanoparticle aerosols (2014-2018);
- Multiparametric characterization of metal ultrafine particles (2016-2019);
- Optimizing methods of sampling ultrafine particles of metal aerosols using cascade impactors (2016-2020);
- Assessment of exposure to nanometric titanium dioxide (2014-2017);
- Standardization of activities concerning nanotechnologies and nanomaterials (NANOCEN) (2013-2018);
- EXPROPNANO: Assessment of occupational exposure to nanometric particles (measurement strategy coupled with analysis of the activity) (2015-2017);
- Nanomaterials and occupational exposure during operations implementing powders: study of the relationships between the physico-chemical properties of the powders and the characteristics of the aerosols emitted at workplaces (2016-2019); and
- Performance of filtering and isolating respiratory protective devices in protecting from nanoparticles (2013-2017).