By Caroline Miller, CIH, CSP
On November 8, 2013, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued “Current Strategies for Engineering Controls in Nanomaterial Production and Downstream Handling Processes,” DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2014-102. The main purpose of the document is to identify and describe strategies for engineering controls of worker exposure during the production or use of engineered nanomaterials.
This document is a summary of available technologies that can be used in the nanotechnology industry. Engineering controls are preferred over administrative controls and personal protective equipment for reducing worker exposures because they are designed to remove the hazard at the source, before it comes into contact with the worker. As evidence showing the effectiveness of controls during the manufacture and downstream use of engineered nanomaterials in specific applications has been limited, the NIOSH recommendations provide science-based guidance. The document was developed because as more nanomaterials are introduced into the workplace and nano-enabled products enter the market, it is important that manufacturers and users of engineered nanomaterials provide a safe and healthy work environment.
Processes discussed in the document and for which controls are recommended and described include reactor operations and cleanout processes, small-scale weighing and handling of nanopowders, intermediate and finishing processes and maintenance tasks. The document also includes recommendations for evaluating the performance of control technologies and control systems. In addition, the document provides information on monitoring of exposures.
The document can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2014-102/pdfs/2014-102.pdf.