BSI British Standards Takes Lead in Nano Guidance

The BSI British Standards release of nine documents Jan. 29 giving U.K. industries guidance and standard terminology for nanotechnology may be important to U.S. industry, as well, given the international role Britain plays in this area. The UK holds the chair and secretariat of the International Organization for Standardization committee ISO/TC 229 "Nanotechnologies" and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) committee CEN/TC 352 "Nanotechnologies." The nine new documents are available at www.bsi-global.com/nano. They are:

* PAS 131, Terminology for medical, health and personal care applications of nanotechnologies;

* PAS 132, Terminology for the bio-nano interface;

* PAS 133, Terminology for nanoscale measurement and instrumentation;

* PAS 134, Terminology for carbon nanostructures;

* PAS 135, Terminology for nanofabrication;

* PAS 136, Terminology for nanomaterials.

* PD 6699-1, Nanotechnologies – Part 1: Good practice guide for specifying manufactured nanomaterials

* PD 6699-2, Nanotechnologies – Part 2: Guide to safe handling and disposal of manufactured nanomaterials

* PAS 130, Guidance on the labelling of manufactured nanoparticles and products containing manufactured nanoparticles

Dan Kallin, CPEA, environmental officer with MIT's Environment, Health and Safety Office, noted in a message posted on the SAFETY listserv yesterday afternoon that PD 6699-2:2007 "provides a level of detail about the risk assessment of nanomaterials in the workplace that has not been previously published. No other government agency or organization has taken the next step in establishing workplace exposure limits." He explained that the document classifies nanomaterials into four categories: fibrous; carcinogenetic, mutagenic, asthmagenic, or a reproductive toxin (CMAR); insoluble; and soluble; and sets workplace exposure limits at 0.01 fibers per milliliter for fibrous, 0.1 of the existing WEL for CMAR nanomaterials, 0.066 of the existing WEL for insoluble nanomaterials, and 0.5 of the existing WEL for the soluble nanomaterials.

"These WELs should send a shockwave through the environmental, health, and safety community," Kallin wrote. "The British Standards Institute approved this publication after much painstaking work over the past couple years. To date, this is most thorough openly-available publication on the topic and industrial hygienists should take the framework seriously."

BSI British Standards said its documents "will support worker, public and environmental safety and underpin commercialization and procurement." It cited a worldwide market for nanotechnology-enabled products that is expected to exceed $1 trillion per year by 2015.

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