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June 29, 2009

EU-OSHA Publishes Literature Review Of Workplace Exposure

Lynn L. Bergeson

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) announced June 19, 2009, the publication of the Literature Review — Workplace Exposure to Nanoparticles, which reviews the most recent publications on nanoparticles and focuses on the possible adverse health effects of workplace exposure. The report focuses on the possible adverse health effects of workplace exposure to engineered nanomaterials and possible subsequent activities taken to manage the risk. The report does not include nanomaterials originating from natural sources, as well as non-intended nanoscale by-products, such as diesel engine exhaust, and welding fumes. To provide a broad overview, EU-OSHA collected information from different sources, such as scientific literature, policy documents, legislation, and work programs. EU-OSHA gave priority to documents from the European Union (EU), although national and international activities are also described. The report considers studies published up to November 2008. The report identifies the following topics as priorities for future actions and activities:

  • Identification of nanomaterials and description of exposure;
  • Measurement of exposures to nanomaterials and efficacy of protective measures;
  • Risk assessment of nanomaterials in line with the current statutory framework;
  • In vivo studies for assessment of the health effects of nanomaterials;
  • Validation of the in vitro methods and methods of physico-chemical properties as methods to determine health effects; and
  • Training of workers and practical handling guidelines for activities involving nanomaterials in the workplace.