Two Agencies Offer Nanomaterials Exposure Guidance

EU-OSHA and OSHA in the United States both have new documents available addressing safe work with these materials.

EU-OSHA has redesigned its online publications section, making it easy for visitors to acess and download numerous reports at no cost. The publications are available at https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications.

The latest documents involve maintenance procedures involving hazardous substances in the chemical industry, motivating employees to participate in workplace health promotion campaigns, and safe work with nanomaterials. Older materials address topics including safety data sheet pictograms, safe maintenance procedures in the agricultural industry, and Legionella.

At the same time, OSHA in the United States has posted a new fact sheet titled "Working Safely with Nanomaterials." It notes that few occupational exposure limits exist specifically for nanomaterials, and existing occupational exposure limits for a substance may not provide adequate protection from nanoparticles of the same substance.

In the fact sheet, OSHA recommends that workers' exposure to respirable carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers not exceed 7.0 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) as an eight-hour time-weighted average, based on the NIOSH proposed Recommended Exposure Limit. The agency also recommends that workers' exposure to nanoscale particles of titanium dioxide not exceed NIOSH's 0.3 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3) REL. (NIOSH's REL for fine-sized TiO2, particle size greater than 100 nm, is 2.4 mg/m3.)

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