A Strategy for Assessing Workplace Exposures to Nanomaterials

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  • 3:21PM May 21, 2013
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Nanoscale titanium dioxide particles now commonly used in cosmetic products.
Nanoscale titanium dioxide particles now commonly used in cosmetic products.

The exposure potential to nanomaterials is a hot topic for industry, government, health organizations and those concerned with the environment. A strategy is needed that can identify the jobs or tasks that carry the risk of potential exposure; one that can ensure that the risks to workers handling nanomaterials are being managed properly. This article suggests guidelines for providing a highly tailorable exposure assessment strategy and proposing exposure limits.

In a related study, RJ Lee Group experts teamed with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in a multi-phase study that helped identify and manage potential health and safety hazards as well as environmental impacts related to unbound nanoparticles (UNP).

The abstract reads:

This article describes a highly tailorable exposure assessment strategy for nanomaterials that enables effective and efficient exposure management (i.e., a strategy that can identify jobs or tasks that have clearly unacceptable exposures), while simultaneously requiring only a modest level of resources to conduct. The strategy is based on the general framework from AIHA® that is adapted for nanomaterials and seeks to ensure that the risks to workers handling nanomaterials are being managed properly. The strategy relies on a general framework as the basic foundation while building and elaborating on elements essential to an effective and efficient strategy to arrive at decisions based on collecting and interpreting available information. This article provides useful guidance on conducting workplace characterization; understanding exposure potential to nanomaterials; accounting methods for background aerosols; constructing SEGs; and selecting appropriate instrumentation for monitoring, providing appropriate choice of exposure limits, and describing criteria by which exposure management decisions should be made. The article is intended to be a practical guide for industrial hygienists for managing engineered nanomaterial risks in their workplaces.

— Abstract from Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene

The full article is available here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22023547