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August 22, 2012
NIOSH publishes safe practices for nanomaterials

A new NIOSH research publication addresses occupational safety and health practices for individuals working with nanomaterials. According to NIOSH, nanotechnology involves the manipulation of matter at nanometer-length scale (1-billionth of a meter) to produce new materials, structures, and devices.

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The document, General Safe Practices for Working with Engineered Nanomaterials in Research Laboratories, is designed to be used with well-established practices and a lab’s chemical hygiene plan. It is posted online at the CDC's Nantchnology page.

The plan reflects input from several subject matter experts, and the content was reviewed by a consortium of California universities.

“This paper illustrates that the research community is at the front line of creating and testing engineered nanomaterials and provides a scientific basis for responsible development of nanotechnology,” said NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard.

Topics include:

  • Hazard identification to understand the characteristics of nanomaterials that may pose a risk
  • Exposure assessment with attention to the characteristics of nanomaterials that can influence exposure
  • Hierarchy of controls
  • Control banding
  • Management of fire potential and spills
  • Occupational health surveillance
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