Safe Handling of Nanomaterials in the Workplace
Nanophase alleviates the uncertainty around environmental, health and safety aspects of nanomaterials by utilizing industry best practices, state of the art monitoring, measurement, controls, and advanced scientific research to approach EHS activities related to nanomaterials.
Nanophase is well informed and aware of known, existing and potential EHS concerns related to the production and handling of nanomaterials. On a regular basis, Nanophase employs various methods, including advanced Industrial Hygiene monitoring to continually assess the exposure risks associated with each nanomaterial it produces or processes. For the best protection known today, appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is selected and provided to employees based on EHS reviews & standards.
As new information develops through domestic and international nanotechnology standardization initiatives, it is reviewed, and implemented, as applicable to Nanophase materials and processes.
Nanophase firmly believes its nanomaterials are safe to handle utilizing commercially available PPE. Inhalation is the most important factor to be considered when handling nanomaterial powders. Based on scientific knowledge and guidance available through **NIOSH, the HEPA (aka N100) filter media provides an effective guard against exposures from airborne nanomaterials. The NIOSH data suggests, and has shown, it is impossible for nanomaterials to exist as airborne primary particles. Airborne nanoparticles quickly form loose agglomerates, which are several microns in size and can be easily handled by commercially available PPE.
To help customers and users of Nanophase products, Nanophase has created General Guidelines for the Safe Handling of Nanocrystalline Powder and Dispersions, which includes a recommendation of PPE for production and laboratory settings.
Based on the preliminary findings, NIOSH certified respirators should provide the expected levels of protection (from nanoparticles) if properly selected and fit tested as part of a complete respiratory protection program. NIOSH plans to continue studying the nanoparticle collection efficiency of NIOSH certified respirators to validate these findings.
[Ref: Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology: An Information Exchange with NIOSH, 2006, Page 23, Section D]