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April 17, 2012

EU OSHA Announces French Report on Feasibility of Epidemiological Surveillance System for Workers Exposed to Engineered Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU OSHA) posted an item on April 16, 2012, concerning a French report on the feasibility of an epidemiological surveillance system for workers exposed to engineered nanomaterials. EU OSHA notes that the French Health and Occupational Ministries asked the French Institute for Public Health Surveillance (InVS), supported by a multidisciplinary working group convened by the Institute for Public Health Research, to assess the feasibility of an epidemiological surveillance system of workers likely to be exposed to engineered nanomaterials.  The resulting report “draws up an inventory of the numerous uncertainties inherent to this field such as the question of definition, the wide range of nanomaterials, the identification of health events that could be monitored, the registration and collaboration of companies and workers likely to be concerned by nanomaterials and the metrological issues.” According to EU OSHA, InVS suggests the implementation of a double surveillance system with a prospective cohort study and repeated cross-sectional studies.  The repeated cross-sectional studies would include all kinds of nanomaterials, while the cohort study would focus on a few.  In conclusion, EU OHSA states, the report gives some recommendations for epidemiological research. While the French report is dated 2011, an English summary is dated 2012.