Nanomaterial Guidance

What are Nanotechnology, Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials? These terms are used to describe matter at the nanoscale, and typically refer to materials with one or more dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers (nm). Nanomaterials can have unique physical, chemical and biological properties that can enable their use in novel applications.

Nanomaterials are found in a wide variety of research applications and consumer products.

The unique properties of nanomaterials which make them useful also bring about unique hazards. These health hazards and physical hazards include: 

  • Nanomaterials may enter the body primarily through inhalation, ingestion and through skin (dermal) contact.
  • As a result of their small size, nanoparticles and other nano-objects can reach parts of biological systems which are not normally accessible by larger particles.
  • Fires and explosions

Considerations for assessing hazard potential

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2018-103/pdfs/Nano_MP1_2018-103_508.pdf?id=10.26616/NIOSHPUB2018103

Existing occupational exposure limits for a substance may not provide adequate protection from nanoparticles of that substance so users should minimize exposure by using available hazard control measures and best practices.  Hazard assessment considerations should include: 

  • Identifying and describing processes and job tasks where workers may be exposed to nanomaterials; 
  • Determining the physical state of the nanomaterials such as dust, powder, spray, or droplets;
  • Determining routes of exposure (e.g., inhalation, skin contact or ingestion) of particulates, slurries, suspensions or solutions of nanomaterials; 
  • Identifying the most appropriate assessment method to determine worker exposures to nanomaterials
  • Determining most effective controls measures available to limit worker exposure

Due to the unique nature of research involving nanomaterials, each PI is encouraged to discuss their project directly with EH&S in order to perform a formal hazard assessment. 

Controlling Hazards when Working with Nanomaterials 

Engineering and Administrative Controls are the preferred methods to reduce exposure to any hazard.  If these controls cannot adequately reduce the exposure to nanomaterials, personal protective equipment must be used.  Disposable N95 or half/full face elastomeric respiratory protection might be recommended depending on the material, particle size distribution, task and duration. Please contact Environmental and Occupational Health at eoh@fpm.wisc.edu with respiratory protection questions. 

Figure: Controlling Health Hazards When Working with Nanomaterials: Questions to Ask Before You Start- poster- NIOSH 

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2018-103/pdfs/Nano_MP1_2018-103_508.pdf?id=10.26616/NIOSHPUB2018103

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Health and physical hazards of nanomaterials

The unique properties of nanomaterials which make them useful also bring about unique hazards. 

 

  • Nanomaterials may enter the body primarily through inhalation, ingestion and through skin (dermal) contact.
  • As a result of their small size, nanoparticles and other nano-objects can reach parts of biological systems which are not normally accessible by larger particles.
  • Fires and explosions

Assessing the hazards

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2018-103/pdfs/Nano_MP1_2018-103_508.pdf?id=10.26616/NIOSHPUB2018103

Existing occupational exposure limits for a substance may not provide adequate protection from nanoparticles of that substance so users should minimize exposure by using available hazard control measures and best practices.  Hazard assessment considerations should include: 

  • Identifying and describing processes and job tasks where workers may be exposed to nanomaterials; 
  • Determining the physical state of the nanomaterials such as dust, powder, spray, or droplets;
  • Determining routes of exposure (e.g., inhalation, skin contact or ingestion) of particulates, slurries, suspensions or solutions of nanomaterials; 
  • Identifying the most appropriate assessment method to determine worker exposures to nanomaterials
  • Determining most effective controls measures available to limit worker exposure

Controlling the Hazards

Engineering and Administrative Controls are the preferred methods to reduce exposure to any hazard.  If these controls cannot adequately reduce the exposure to nanomaterials, personal protective equipment must be used.  Disposable N95 or half/full face elastomeric respiratory protection might be recommended depending on the material, particle size distribution, task and duration. Please contact Environmental and Occupational Health at eoh@fpm.wisc.edu with respiratory protection questions. 

 

Figure: Controlling Health Hazards When Working with Nanomaterials: Questions to Ask Before You Start- poster- NIOSH 

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2018-103/pdfs/Nano_MP1_2018-103_508.pdf?id=10.26616/NIOSHPUB2018103

 

 

Additional Information

Chemical Safety’s Guidance Doc- Tilak working on

 

Bio Guidance adapted fromBioArrow KB Doc- Louise will work on

 

Animal Safety Considerations for the Use of Nanoparticles?

presently known use of Nanoparticle in animals at UW:  feed, wound healing, immunostimulation, cancer research

 

Radiation Safety Considerations for the Use of Nanoparticles?

presently known use of Nanoparticles with radiation at UW:  ?

 

Other EH&S Links- may be on bottom panel

Sources for more information: we provide links to other UW sites like Disposal, Spills

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