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Posted: February 11, 2009

Best practices guide to synthetic nanoparticle risk management

(Nanowerk News) The very first guide in Québec to deal with managing the risks associated with synthetic nanoparticles has just been published – Best practices guide to synthetic nanoparticle risk management (pdf download, 468 KB).
It is a best practices guide published jointly by the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST), the Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CSST) and NanoQuébec. The guide sets out a prevention strategy appropriate to the workers and researchers who use, manufacture or synthesize nanoparticles.
A practical approach
The authors of the guide note that the level of knowledge on health and safety risks related specifically to nanoparticles is still very limited. For one thing, the toxic effects linked to the ability of these particles to pass through various biological barriers, disperse in the organism and accumulate in certain organs and within cells have only been partially documented. While we know that nanoparticles can be more toxic than their equivalent larger-scale chemical counterparts, current knowledge nevertheless allows us to manage the risks, even when the levels of toxicity and exposure are uncertain.
Designed for companies, researchers and other stakeholders concerned about the effects of nanotechnologies, the guide describes the current state of knowledge in the field and makes recommendations to encourage taking responsibility for and controlling its risk factors so as to prevent employment injuries. The guide ascertains the health, safety and environmental risks of nanotechnologies, suggests an approach for evaluating and controlling these risks, documents current practices at the international level and specifies which factors should form part of an institutional prevention program.
In making the document public, Marie Larue, IRSST President and CEO stated, “The guide does not address every issue associated with nanoparticles. Its merits include recommending a preventive approach for minimizing occupational exposure, suggesting a step-by-step approach and providing concrete examples of applications in industrial settings and research centres.
Research opportunities
It should be recalled that the IRSST and NanoQuébec had called on Québec researchers to submit proposals to advance knowledge in the field of prevention and effective management of the risks associated with nanoparticles. The projects submitted employed an approach based on eliminating risks at source. Those selected will we published.
Source: IRSST