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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Nanomaterials: NIOSH Publishes Safe Practices Guide

NIOSH (The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) has published safety recommendations on engineering controls and safe practices for handling engineered nanomaterials in laboratories and some pilot scale operations. This guidance was designed to be used in tandem with well-established practices and the laboratory’s chemical hygiene plan. The introduction of nanoparticles into the workplace has created a new dimension in workers' compensation occupational exposure claims.

"Nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter at a nanometer scale to produce new materials, structures, and devices having new properties, may revolutionize life in the future. It has the potential to impact medicine through improved disease diagnosis and treatment technologies and to impact manufacturing by creating smaller, lighter, stronger, and more efficient products. Nanotechnology could potentially decrease the impact of pollution by improving methods for water purification or energy conservation. Although engineered nanomaterials present seemingly limitless possibilities, they bring with them new challenges for identifying and controlling potential safety and health risks to workers. Of particular concern is the growing body of evidence that occupational exposure to some engineered nanomaterials can cause adverse health effects.

"As with any new technology or new material, the earliest exposures will likely occur for those workers conducting discovery research in laboratories or developing production processes in pilot plants. The research community is at the front line of creating new nanomaterials, testing their usefulness in a variety of applications and determining their toxicological and environmental impacts. Researchers handling engineered nanomaterials in laboratories should perform that work in a manner that protects their safety and health. This guidance document provides the best information currently available on engineering controls and safe work practices to be followed when working with engineered nanomaterials in research laboratories.

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For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman1.973.696.7900 jon@gelmans.com have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered work related accident and injuries.