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New guidance on exposure to nanomaterials now available from HSE

02 July 2013

The UK Health and Safety Executive has brought out a number of new guides to the safe manufacture and use of nanomaterials. The new guides are called Using Nanomaterials at WorkThe Use of Nanomaterials in UK Universities: an Overview of Occupational Health and Safety, and Working Safely with Nanomaterials in Research and Development.

Using Nanomaterials at Work

This new guidance, produced by HSE, is aimed at SMEs. It is specifically about the manufacture and manipulation of all nanomaterials including carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and high aspect ration nanomaterials (HARNS). It has been prepared in response to emerging evidence about the toxicity of these materials.

If you work with nanomaterials this guidance will help you protect your employees. If you run a medium-sized or large business, where decisions about controlling hazardous substances are more complex, you may also need professional advice. This guidance will also be useful for trade union and employee health and safety representatives.

The control principles described can be applied to all nanomaterials used in the workplace. Any differences in the approach between control of CNTs and other bio-persistent HARNs to any other type of nanomaterials are highlighted in the text.

The Use of Nanomaterials in UK Universities: an Overview of Occupational Health and Safety 

HSE wishes to increase its knowledge and understanding of the occupational use and manufacture of engineered nanoparticles in the UK. As part of this work, HSE has worked with The UK NanoSafety Group to gain an overview of the work with nanomaterials in a small number of UK universities.

Working Safely with Nanomaterials in Research and Development 

This new guidance has been developed by The UK Nanosafety Partnership Group (UKNSPG) and is aimed at employers, managers, health and safety advisors, and users of particulate nanomaterials in research and development. This guidance has been endorsed by HSE and contains a foreword by Judith Hackitt.

These publications join existing guidance on nanomaterials, which include a review of the adequacy of current regulatory regimes to secure effective regulation of nanoparticles created by nanotechnology (Regulatory Review, published March 2006), and a scientific review, undertaken by HSE's Industrial Chemicals Unit, evaluating the limited scientific information available to HSE at the time (Health Effects of Particles Produced for Nanotechnologies EH75/6, published in 2004).

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