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Improving nanomaterial Safety Data Sheets: CPWR launches e-tool

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Photo: CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training

Silver Spring, MD — A new e-tool from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training is intended to help manufacturers, distributors and importers of products that contain nanomaterials strengthen their Safety Data Sheets.

The free, interactive Nano Safety Data Sheet Improvement Tool poses to users a series of questions to help evaluate their existing SDSs, and then generates a report with recommendations for improvement. That report is based on the 16 sections of an SDS required by OSHA that follow specifications of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

Nanomaterials – materials that have at least one dimension (height, width or length) that’s smaller than 100 nanometers – are chemical substances whose microscopic size gives them properties they don’t possess in their larger form.

CPWR has identified more than 800 nanomaterials that are increasingly being used in construction. Those materials include sealants, coatings, paints, concrete, flooring, lubricants and roofing materials. When workers use the materials, they can be exposed to fumes, gases, vapors and dust containing nanomaterials, which can present health hazards.

Knowing which materials could be hazardous allows workers to take precautions to mitigate the risks, according to CPWR, which says SDSs for these products should clearly identify nanomaterials that are present and offer information on potential safety and health risks.

A 2019 study led by Laura Hodson, the retired coordinator of the NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Center, revealed that only 3% of the nanomaterial SDSs evaluated were satisfactory and 79% needed significant improvement. 

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