Nanotechnology Podium Session Provides New Answers

Nanotechnology is once again a hot topic at the American Industrial Hygiene Association's annual conference and expo. Today's "Nanoparticle Assessment and Control" Technical program (PO 101), sponsored by the Nanotechnology Working Group, was nearly filled to capacity as attendees gathered around to listen as several industry professionals and researchers discussed their latest scientific findings at the conference being held in Minneapolis.

Michael Weeks, ENVIRON International Corp., discussed nanomaterial exposure assessment and control validation using tracer gas technologies.

Using tracer gas is a good way to measure exposure because nanosized particles behave like a gas when airborne, Weeks said. Some gases that could be used include sulfur hexafluoride, carbon dioxide, freons, and many others depending on application and need.

The biggest issues surrounding nanoparticle exposure, Weeks said, are the lack of knowledge regarding toxicity, lack of nanomaterial specific standards, and uncertainty of measurement techniques.

Some of the biggest reasons that nanotechnology has grown so much in popularity, Weeks added, is because of the common perception that this new science will change life as we know it. Also, he said, the media tends to magnify the risks involved.

Despite the many unknowns, Weeks emphasized that the responsibilities of industrial hygienists have not changed; they must still protect employees from hazards, both known and unknown, using proven and sophisticated techniques.

To reduce the hazards, Weeks listed five steps:

  • Identify health hazards
  • Identify tasks and workers
  • Control planning
  • Control implementation
  • Periodical re-evalution

Kwangseog Ahn, University of Massachusetts Lowell, reaffirmed through his demonstration that HEPA filtration is a viable method of removing nanoparticles from the air. Fabric filters were shown not to be an effective alternative; however, since fabric filters are reusable and HEPA filters are not, it was recommended that IH professionals employ a two-stage collection system in which a fabric filter is used followed by a HEPA filter, in order to elongate the HEPA filter's life.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Everything You Need to Know about Incident investigations

    Need some tips for conducting an incident investigation at work after there’s been an occupational injury or illness, or maybe even a near miss? This guide presents a comprehensive overview of methods of performing incident investigations to lead you through your next steps.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2020

    November December 2020

    Featuring:

    • COLD STRESS
      Managing Cold Stress
    • TRAINING: FALL PROTECTION
      Providing Training for Fall Protection
    • PPE: HEARING PROTECTION
      Eight Tips for Hearing Testing Day
    • FACILITY SECURITY
      Incorporating COVID-19 Protections into Safety Programs
    View This Issue