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October 12, 2018

EU-OSHA Posts Info Sheet on Manufactured Nanomaterials in the Workplace

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On October 3, 2018, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) published an info sheet on “Manufactured nanomaterials in the workplace.”  According to the info sheet, “[t]he requirements for managing nanomaterials in the workplace are the same as those for managing other hazardous chemicals, including the provision of information and training for workers, carrying out risk assessments and taking action to ensure a safe workplace.”  The prerequisites for fulfilling these demands are different for nanoparticles than for most other chemicals, however.  The info sheet notes that knowledge about the risks associated with nanomaterials is still limited, and “there are no occupational exposure limits (yet) for any nanomaterials, although reference values have been suggested.”  Therefore, the info sheet states, the precautionary principle needs to be applied to keep exposure at a level at which the risk can be expected to be under control, even if the nanomaterial should prove to be more hazardous than it is currently known to be.  The info sheet gives general, practical advice on how to apply the precautionary principle in managing nanomaterials.