The National Law Review – On March 7, 2017, Canadian Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST) published the final report for Project 2013-0059, “The Development and Validation of Methods for Sampling and Characterizing Engineered Nanomaterials in Air and on Workplace Surfaces.” The report is available in French, but the abstract is available in English.
The main goal was to develop innovative methodological approaches for detailed qualitative and quantitative characterization of workplace exposure to engineered nanomaterials. IRSST states that the workplace investigations covered a variety of industries (e.g., electronics, manufacturing, printing, construction, energy, and research and development) and included producers as well as users or integrators of engineered nanomaterials. According to IRSST, it found nanometals or metal oxides, nanoclays, nanocellulose, and carbonaceous materials, including carbon nanofibers and carbon nanotubes.
IRSST states the project helped to advance its knowledge of workplace assessments of engineered nanomaterials by documenting specific tasks and industrial processes (e.g., printing and varnishing), as well as certain “little investigated” engineered nanomaterials, such as nanocellulose.
IRSST proposes a strategy for more accurate assessment of engineered nanomaterials exposure using methods that require a minimum of preanalytical handling: (1) testing with different direct-reading instruments, as well as sample collection and subsequent microscopic analysis, to identify clearly the work tasks that generate engineered nanomaterials; and (2) once work exposure is confirmed, specific quantification of the engineered nanomaterials detected.