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KAN reviews nanotechnology standardisation documents from OSH perspective

Date: 09/6/2017

Germany’s Commission for Occupational Health and Safety (KAN) released a report entitled 'Standardization in nanotechnology — Status review and requirements analysis from the occupational safety and health perspective'.

According to the report, which includes an English summary, the authors conducted a structured status review of the standardisation situation in the field of nanotechnology.  Approximately 260 standardisation documents related to nanotechnology were identified, including published standards, draft standards, technical specifications, and reports, as well as (proposed) work items. The evaluation of the findings focuses on a comparison with national and European rules and regulations.

The results are used as the basis for recommendations to help occupational safety and health (OSH) experts exert a targeted influence on standardisation in nanotechnology.

KAN’s recommendations include requesting that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health urge the European Commission to:

  • Make clear the cross-references and differences between the European Union definition of nanomaterials and internationally harmonised definitions;
  • Address “advanced materials,” in addition to nanomaterials, in the subject matter dealt with in legislation and, while doing so, make reference to European and international harmonised OSH-relevant definitions in standards;
  • Promote the development of methods that cover the difficult measuring requirements in risk assessments of nanomaterials used in workplace practice;
  • Take into account the findings of safety research on nanomaterials that show that other innovative materials can also lead to similar hazards for workers;
  • Supplement the testing requirements for nanomaterials and other “advanced materials” with similar health hazards in the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation annexes and in guidelines;
  • Add these properties to the data required on the safety data sheet so that they are communicated to the supply chain; and
  • Introduce methods with which to group nanomaterials by their hazardous properties.

Source: Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

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MWCNT-7 is classified by IARC as ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’ (Group 2B).