Little Progress on SDSs' Nano Information

One of the AIHce technical papers in which NIOSH personnel were involved provides a disappointing update on what the agency reported at the 2009 AIHce.

PORTLAND, Ore. — There is not enough information being listed in Safety Data Sheets about nanoscale materials' potential risks for workers, according to a new technical paper posted at the AIHce 2011 meeting here. One of the best-known NIOSH nanotechnology experts, Charles Geraci, is a co-author along with Laura Hodson (also of NIOSH's Nanotechnology Research Center in Cincinnati) and Environmental Data Validation of Cincinnati.

The paper, "A Critical Evaluation of Past and Present Safety Data Sheets for Engineered Nanomaterials,." is an update on what NIOSH presented about the same topic during the 2009 AIHce, and it shows little progress has been made. The paper says the authors reviewed 29 SDSs from 32 manufacturers of engineered nanomaterials and compared them with the 2007-08 versions of the same SDSs. Three needed improvement, two were good, 21 showed no significant improvement, and three were unchanged, the authors report.

They also reviewed 26 new SDSs from 19 manufacturers and said 15 of them contained occupational exposure limits for bulk materials but did not contain guidance indicating those OELs might not protect from nanoscale materials' hazards. Eight of these new SDSs needed improvement, 18 needed serious improvement, and none were classified as good by the authors. "Overall, the most common problem was failure to list recent toxicological data," they concluded.

Their recommendations are that the manufacturers list particle size information and note OELs may not protect at the nanoscale level, conduct annual literature searches for the most recent toxicological information, and add newly found information on chemical hazards to SDSs within three months of discovering it.

For information, contact Hodson at lhodson@cdc.gov.

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