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March 5, 2013

EU-OSHA Posts Results of Project on Nano in Furniture

Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 4, 2013, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) announced the results of a joint project by the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW), the European Furniture Manufacturers Federation (UEA), and the European Furniture Industries Federation (EFIC) on the use of nanomaterials in the European furniture sector. The Dutch institute “IVAM Research and consultancy on Sustainability” (IVAM UvA BV) investigated the current awareness among stakeholders and provided an overview of actual nano-products at the European furniture market. The joint project examined what types of nanomaterials are being used in furniture product manufacturing; the near future perspectives for using nanomaterials in furniture manufacturing; health and safety issues for workers within the workplace; and what a precautionary safe workplace would look like. According to the executive summary, the market for nanomaterial use in furniture products is still in an early phase of development. IVAM UvA BV notes that nanotechnology may have significant implications for the future of furniture manufacturing and on furniture quality and functionalities, as well as on environmental, occupational, and public health performances related to the manufacturing and end-products.