International guidelines outline safe nanomaterial use in the workplace

Tuesday, 20 January, 2009

ISO has just published the ISO/TR 12885:2008 'Health and safety practices in occupational settings relevant to nanotechnologies', which focuses on the manufacture and use of engineered nanomaterials.

The standard is based on current information about nanotechnologies, including characterisation, health effects, exposure assessments and control practices.

The field of nanotechnologies is advancing rapidly and is expected to impact on almost every facet of global industry and society. International standardisation contributes to realising the potential of this technology in a safe and sustainable manner through economic development, improving the quality of life while protecting public health and the environment.

Broadly applicable across a range of nanomaterials and applications, the standard provides advice for companies, researchers, workers and others to prevent adverse health and safety consequences during the production, handling, use and disposal of manufactured nanomaterials.

Dr Peter Hatto, Chair of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 229, Nanotechnologies, said: “The introduction of new engineered nanomaterials into the workplace raises questions concerning occupational safety and health that should be addressed, as appropriate, by international standards.

"While such standards are being developed, it is important, through ISO/TR 12885:2008, to assemble and make available to users useful knowledge on occupational safety and health practices in the context of nanotechnologies.”

The standard will be revised and updated, with new safety standards developed as knowledge increases and experience is gained in the course of technological advancement.

 

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