NIOSH issues draft bulletin on silver nanotechnology exposure; seeks comment


Washington – NIOSH is seeking comment about its draft bulletin on the health effects of worker exposure to silver nanoparticles.

The document explores scientific research about whether workers exposed to silver nanomaterials are at a greater risk for negative health effects and whether suitable information is available for a recommended exposure limit for particle size.

In addition, the draft offers safe-handling recommendations for workers and outlines needs for further scientific literature, according to a notice in the Jan. 21 Federal Register.

NIOSH found no studies that determined detrimental health effects in workers after they were exposed to silver nanomaterials, the abstract states. Studies that looked at worker health effects from long-term exposure to silver dust and fume documented bluish skin and eye pigmentation.

The notice states that discussion will have “special emphasis” on the following issues:

  • If health information about silver and silver nanomaterials reflects current scientific literature
  • Workplaces and jobs where exposure may occur, and studies on health effects
  • Strategies for preventing or curbing exposure
  • Exposure measurement methods and challenges in measuring workplace exposures
  • Possibilities for collaboration

The deadline for comments is March 21. A public meeting to discuss the document has been scheduled for March 23 in Cincinnati.

NIOSH announced in 2012 that it intended to examine scientific information about silver nanomaterials and publish its findings about possible health issues.

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