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Posted: July 26, 2010
German Paint and Printing Ink Association publishes guidance for workplace handling nanomaterials
(Nanowerk News) The German Paint and Printing Ink Association has published a guideline document to inform its members on the responsible handling of nanoscale materials at the workplace. The document can be downloaded in either English or German language from the association's website.
Already now, nanotechnology is of major significance in the development of new paints and coatings. Over the next 30 years, the number of improvements to conventional paint products and new functions of paints will increase at breath-taking speed. For the next 10 years, it can be assumed for Germany that roughly 20 percent of paint industry sales will come from nanotechnology applications in the form of so-called "smart coatings".
The paint and printing ink industry itself does not manufacture any nano-objects. Consequently, occupational health and safety in this industry starts with the selection of nano-objects as inputs, based on available information.
When following the OECD working definition, the number of types of nano-objects used in the paint industry is low. It is true that conventional pigments include small shares of nano sized particles, due to their particle size distribution. But pigments are not manufactured as nano-objects. Quite the contrary, they are meant to have much larger dimensions in order to absorb or scatter light and to thus give colour to products.
The German paint and printing ink industry is committed to the Responsible Care initiative and to the fundamentals of the NanoDialogue of the German federal government. Relevant principles are implemented according to this commitment. As part of Responsible Care, the paint industry developed already in the mid-nineties guidance for safety, health and environmental protection in this industry and introduced this guidance in member companies. Focal tasks within this initiative are about occupational health and safety and product safety of paints and printing inks.
The German paint and printing ink industry manufactures products which are technically safe and pose no risk to human health or the environment when used as intended.
The safe handling of products comprises their manufacture – stretching from delivery and warehousing of raw materials to production, storage and distribution of paints and printing inks, their use by processors and disposal of unavoidable wastes. The requirement of safe handling is fully observed also for novel products based on nanotechnology.