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NIOSH 2013: Occupational exposure to carbon nanotubes and nanofibres

NIOSH_200This document, published by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), provides occupational safety and health guidance for carbon nanotubes (CNT) and carbon nanofibres (CNF), and specifically:

  • reviews the animal and other toxicological data relevant to assessing the potential non-malignant adverse respiratory effects of CNT and CNF;
  • provides a quantitative risk assessment based on animal dose-response data;
  • proposes a recommended exposure limit (REL) of 1 µg/m3 elemental carbon as a respirable mass 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) concentration, and;
  • describes strategies for controlling workplace exposures and implementing a medical surveillance program.

The NIOSH REL is expected to reduce the risk for pulmonary inflammation and fibrosis. However, because of some residual risk at the REL and uncertainty concerning chronic health effects, including whether some types of CNTs may be carcinogenic, continued efforts should be made to reduce exposures as much as possible.

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