Carbon nanotubes have been found to quickly cause adverse lung health effects in mice.

NIOSH Sets Meeting on Carbon Nanotubes Bulletin

The agency has finished a draft Current Intelligence Bulletin containing an assessment of the toxicological data and recommendations for safe handling of the materials.

NIOSH announced it has completed "Occupational Exposure to Carbon Nanotubes and Nanofibers," which is a draft Current Intelligence Bulletin containing an assessment of the toxicological data and recommendations for safe handling of the materials. The agency seeks comments about the document and will host a public meeting Feb. 3 in Cincinnati to discuss it.

Comments are being accepted until Feb. 18.

The 149-page document says findings of adverse respiratory effects in animals exposed to carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers indicate precautionary measures based on the hierarchy of controls should be taken to limit the risk of occupational lung diseases in workers with potential exposure to them:

  • Substitution of non-hazardous or less hazardous materials when feasible.
  • When substitution is not possible, use of engineering controls as the primary method for minimizing worker exposure.
  • Establishing criteria and procedures for selecting, installing, and evaluating the performance of engineering controls, and ensuring workers are trained to check and use exposure controls correctly.
  • Routine evaluation of airborne exposures to ensure control measures are working properly and worker exposures are maintained below the NIOSH REL of 7.0 μg/m3 using NIOSH Method 5040 or an equivalent method.
  • Following exposure and hazard assessment procedures for determining the need for and selection of proper PPE (e.g., clothing, gloves, respirators).
  • Educating workers about the sources and job tasks that may expose them.
  • Providing handwashing facilities and encouraging workers to use them before eating, smoking, or leaving the work site.
  • Providing facilities for showering and changing clothes, with separate facilities for storage of non-work clothing to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Using light-colored gloves, lab coats, and work bench surfaces to make contamination by dark-colored fibers and tubes easier to observe.
  • Developing and implementing procedures for cleaning up spills and decontaminating surfaces.

To register to attend the meeting, contact the NIOSH Docket Office at nioshdocket@cdc.gov, 513-533-8611, or fax 513-533-8285. Written comments should be identified by docket number NIOSH-161-A and mailed to NIOSH Docket Office, Robert A. Taft Laboratories, MS-C34, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226, faxed to 513-533-8285, or e-mailed to nioshdocket@cdc.gov.

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