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Posted: Dec 27, 2010

NIOSH requests information on occupational exposure to carbon nanotubes and nanofibers

(Nanowerk News) The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) requests comments on the draft Current Intelligence Bulletin Occupational Exposure to Carbon Nanotubes and Nanofibers, NIOSH Docket Number: NIOSH 161-A.
This information is distributed solely for the purpose of pre-dissemination peer review under applicable information quality guidelines. It has not been formally disseminated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. It does not represent and should not be construed to represent any Agency determination or policy.
Among the several types of engineered nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes (CNT) and carbon nanofibers (CNF) are emerging as one of the most promising and revolutionizing nanomaterials for different purposes in many fields, including industrial and biomedical applications. CNT and CNF can be encountered in facilities ranging from research laboratories and production plants to operations where CNT and CNF are processed, used, disposed, or recycled. The extent of worker exposure to CNT and CNF is poorly understood, but workplace exposure measurements of CNT and CNF indicate the potential for worker exposure. Various types of laboratory animal studies have been conducted with CNT using different routes of exposure to evaluate potential toxicity. These studies have shown a consistent toxicological response (e.g., pulmonary inflammation, fibrosis) independent of the study design (i.e., intratracheal, aspiration, and inhalation). The draft document summarizes the adverse respiratory health effects that have been observed in laboratory animal studies with single-walled carbon nanotubes, multi-walled carbon nanotubes and CNF and provides recommendations for the safe handling of these materials.
NIOSH has the mandated responsibility of conducting research and developing guidance on the health and safety of workers. Workers generally have higher exposures to toxicants and hazardous agents and greater health risks from these exposures than the general population. Hence, risks assessed for workers are generally not the same for the general population. Consequently, NIOSH's recommendations for the workplace may not be applicable for the general population without appropriate analyses and assessment.
Draft Document for Public Review and Comment
NIOSH Current Intelligence Bulletin: Occupational Exposure to Carbon Nanotubes and Nanofibers
Public Comment Period
Written comments on the document will be accepted through February 18, 2011 in accordance with the instructions below. All material submitted to NIOSH should reference Docket Number NIOSH-161-A. All electronic comments should be formatted as Microsoft Word and make reference to docket number NIOSH-161-A.
Comments will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. EDT on February 18, 2011.
  • Fax comments to the NIOSH Docket Office: 513-533-8285
  • Send by Mail to:
  • NIOSH Mailstop: C-34

    Robert A. Taft Lab.

    4676 Columbia Parkway

    Cincinnati, Ohio 45226

    All information received in response to this notice will be available for public examination and copying at:

    NIOSH Docket Office

    4676 Columbia Parkway, Room 111

    Cincinnati, Ohio 45226.

    A complete electronic docket containing all comments submitted will be available on the NIOSH docket home page, and comments will be available in writing by request. NIOSH includes all comments received without change in the docket, including any personal information provided.
    Public Meeting
    NIOSH will hold a public meeting to discuss and obtain comments on the draft document, "Occupational Exposure to Carbon Nanotubes and Nanofibers". Special emphasis will be placed on discussion of the following:
    1. Whether the hazard identification, risk estimation, and discussion of health effects for carbon nanotubes and nanofibers are a reasonable reflection of the current understanding of the evidence in the scientific literature;
    2. Workplaces and occupations where exposure to carbon nanotubes and nanofibers occur;
    3. Current strategies for controlling occupational exposure to carbon nanotubes and nanofibers (e.g., engineering controls, work practices, personal protective equipment;
    4. Current exposure measurement methods and challenges in measuring workplace exposures to carbon nanotubes and nanofibers;
    5. Areas for future collaborative efforts (e.g., research, communication, development of exposure measurement and control strategies).
    Public Meeting Date and Time: February 3, 2011 9:00amó4:00pm
    Place: Millennium Hotel Cincinnati, Grand Ballroom A, 150 West 5th Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
    Status: The forum will include scientists and representatives from various government agencies, industry, labor, and other stakeholders, and is open to the public. Attendance is limited only by the space available. The meeting room accommodates 100 people. Interested parties should contact the NIOSH Docket Office, phone (513)533-8611, or fax (513)533-8285, for information about how to register for the meeting. Due to limited space, notification of intent to attend the meeting must be made to the NIOSH Docket Office no later than January 28, 2011. Priority for attendance will be given to those providing oral comments. Other requests to attend the meeting will then be accommodated on a first-come basis.
    Persons wanting to provide oral comments will be permitted 15-minutes. If additional time becomes available, presenters will be notified. All requests to present should contain the name, address, telephone number, and relevant business affiliations of the presenter, topic of the presentation, and the approximate time requested for the presentation. Oral comments made at the public meeting must also be submitted to the NIOSH Docket Office in writing in order to be considered by the Agency.
    Source: NIOSH
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