A Strategy for Assessing Workplace Exposures to Nanomaterials

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

Keith P. Rickabaugh, CIH

About Keith P. Rickabaugh, CIH

Mr. Keith Rickabaugh, CIH, has developed analytical procedures, broad testing programs and instrumental methods to characterize nanoparticles for industrial manufacturers of various products and has developed health and safety guidelines for nanoparticles. His experience also includes the conduct of worker simulation studies of building materials and consumer products to determine potential levels of exposure for chemicals and particulate of concern; evaluation of the magnitude, extent and source of particulate in military equipment and automotive systems; and studies to assess migration and source apportionment of soot and particulate using environmental forensics approaches.  
Mr. Rickabaugh has significant expertise in the planning, implementation and oversight of analytical and field sample protocols for large-scale environmental assessment projects and is experienced in working with Federal, State, and local regulatory authorities regarding numerous environmental issues. He has also developed air monitoring plans and management strategies to assess emissions related to renovation and demolition of industrial and commercial building structures in urban environments.  
He is an instructor for ABIH-approved professional development courses on industrial hygiene sampling and analysis methods and nanotechnology health and safety and has served on expert panels for nanotechnology health and safety.

Contact Keith Rickabaugh

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