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New initiative to reduce nanotechnology health risks

Reducing health risks in the field of nanotechnology is the aim of a new initiative released by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

IOSH co-commissioned the UK NanoSafety Partnership Group to produce the first-ever health and safety guidance for working with nanomaterials in research and development.

Nanotechnologies offer potentially huge benefits to society, industry, the environment and health. The guide looks at an array of topics, including risk management, toxicology, exposure control and health surveillance.

June Freeland, chair of the UK NanoSafety Partnership Group and coordinator of the guidance, said: “It’s recognised that activity in the nanotechnology field is expanding more rapidly than the availability of safety guidance and as a result of sector demand, this guidance document was produced.

“One of the aims of the guide is to be consistent with global guidance being produced by other nations, and this has been achieved through regular contact with the authors of similar documents. Hopefully by addressing the potential risks now the advice given in this guidance, will mitigate the possible risk of work-related health disease that in the future may be identified and associated with nanomaterials.”

The new guidance applies to a broad set of nanomaterials that include nano-objects such as nanoparticles, nanopowders, nanofibres, nanotubes, nanowires, as well as aggregates and agglomerates of these materials.

The Health and Safety Executive has endorsed the document.

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