Occupational Health and Safety Issues

 On January 27, 2015, the United Kingdom (UK) Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) will hold a one-day course on “Nanotechnology Health & Safety — A Practical Approach.”  The course is intended to help participants gain an understanding of the techniques and methods available to identify and control exposure to airborne nanomaterials.  HSL

On October 27, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated significant new use rules (SNUR) for 52 chemical substances, including “functionalized carbon nanotubes (generic).” According to the Federal Register notice, the premanufacture notice (PMN) states that the substance will be used as a thin film for electronic device applications. The notice states that, as described in

Earlier this week, Dr. John Howard, Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) announced that, effective October 6, 2014, Chuck Geraci, Ph.D., CIH, has been appointed NIOSH Associate Director for Nanotechnology. NIOSH states: “As Associate Director for Nanotechnology, Dr. Geraci will ensure that NIOSH maintains its outstanding national and international reputation for scientific achievement in the emerging area of nanotechnology implications for workers.  He will also develop initial strategies for NIOSH to participate scientifically in the growing areas of advanced nano-manufacturing technology, advanced nanomaterial science, and in the new challenges arising from the rapid trend of converging technologies.” Dr. Geraci first worked for NIOSH from 1975 through 1987, leaving to work in the private sector.  He returned to NIOSH in 2004 from the Procter and Gamble Company and served as the Chief of the Education and Information Division (EID) Document Development Branch until he assumed his current job of Nanotechnology Research Center (NTRC) Coordinator.  As Chief of the EID Document Development Branch, he was instrumental in launching several key initiatives such as Prevention-though-Design, Skin Hazard Notations, and the Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) derivation. Over the past three years, Dr. Geraci has represented NIOSH on two key committees with the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) — the U.S. Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) and the Nanotechnology Environmental and Health Implications (NEHI) Working Group.  He was instrumental in having NIOSH contributions to worker safety and health included in both the U.S. NNI Strategic Plan and the NEHI Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Research Strategy. In addition to his work with the NNI, Dr. Geraci has been very successful in developing many partnerships with private companies involved in the development of nanomaterial processes and products, and extending these partnerships across NIOSH.


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On September 2, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated final significant new use rules (SNUR) under Section 5(a)(2) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for 36 chemical substances that were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMN). The substances include multi-walled carbon nanotube (generic) (P-08-0392), multi-wall carbon nanotubes (generic) (P-09-257), multi-walled carbon nanofibers (generic) (PMNs P-10-115, P-10-116, P-10-117, P-10-118, P-10-119, P-10-120, P-10-121, P-10-122, P-10-123, P-10-124, P-10-125, and P-10-126), and carbide derived nanocarbon (generic) (PMN P-11-290). Persons who intend to manufacture or process any of these 36 chemical substances for an activity that is designated as a significant new use must notify EPA at least 90 days before commencing that activity. The final SNURs take effect November 3, 2014.


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On February 12, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued, through a direct final rule, significant new use rules (SNUR) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for 35 chemical substances that were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMN). The 35 substances include four identified as multi-walled carbon nanotubes (generic) that were the subject of

On December 7, 2013, the Journal of Nanoparticle Research published online an article entitled “Occupational safety and health criteria for responsible development of nanotechnology.” The authors, who are affiliated with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), describe five criterion actions that they believe should be practiced by decision-makers to ensure the

The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health released a report in October 2013 entitled Evaluation of the health effects of carbon nanotubes. According to the Institute, recent studies have suggested that some types of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) have similar effects as asbestos.  The Institute states that the report “shows that rigid, long and needle-like MWCNTs

Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) announced in October 2013 a voluntary guidance document on measuring airborne carbon nanotubes (CNT) in workplaces. The Technology Research Association for Single Wall CNTs (TASC), a consortium of nine companies and AIST, prepared the guidance, which is intended to provide a means of CNT safety management.

On November 8, 2013, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published a report entitled Current Strategies for Engineering Controls in Nanomaterial Production and Downstream Handling Processes, which identifies and describes strategies for the engineering control of worker exposure during the production or use of engineered nanomaterials. NIOSH notes that there are currently

On October 21, 2013, Particle and Fibre Toxicology posted an article entitled “Carbon nanotube dosimetry: from workplace exposure assessment to inhalation toxicology.”  The authors, who are affiliated with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), note that there are currently no known end-point effects in humans following carbon nanotube (CNT) exposure, leading