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Nanotechnology. Health, Safety & Environment General Awareness Training. Objectives. Share general information on potential HS&E hazards of nano technology. Outline steps needed to ensure ongoing safe operation for the work place and environment.

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Health, Safety & Environment General Awareness Training



  • Share general information on potential HS&E hazards of

nano technology.

  • Outline steps needed to ensure ongoing safe operation for the

work place and environment.

Nanotechnology is a rapidly growing field that has the potential to offer significant advances to society. Like any new technology, we need to ensure we have an adequate understanding of any relevant Health, Safety, and Environmental issues so we can ensure on-going safety.



  • This package is intended for employees in R&D or Manufacturing who

are/will work with nanotechnology.

  • Each slide makes only 1-2 key points and should be a quick read.
  • The last slide contains an embedded word document containing

frequently asked Questions and Answers you can reference if you

want more information than is given on the power point slides.

  • This package represents our best knowledge at the time of writing


  • If you have questions please put them to your manger who will

forward them as appropriate to get answers.


What are Nanoparticles?

  • Very Small particles, usually < 100nm in their longest dimension.
  • Poorly soluble.



  • The diameter of a human hair is ≈ 500,000 nm

Sources of Nanoparticles

  • Naturally Occurring

(Volcanoes, fires, viruses)

  • Man-Made Emissions

(welding fumes, car exhausts)

  • Engineered

(Deliberately manufactured to a

specific size/shape/structure)

Naturally occurring nanoparticles have been around for a

long time. Engineered nanoparticles are relatively new and

potential applications across a range of industries.


Why Is Industry Interested in Nanoparticles?

Some Examples:

Small size = Improved delivery of drugs to specific sites.

= Lower cost and more powerful micro electronic devices.

High surface area

= More efficient energy storage – batteries, capacitors, fuel cells.

= More efficient automobile catalytic converters.

Opacity = Protective and glare reducing coatings.

Nano technology has a wide variety of applications that could improve people’s lives.


What Are The Potential Health Hazards Of Nanoparticles?

  • Health effects can not always be extrapolated from regular sized parent material.

2. For individual nano receipts health effects

will depend on things like:

- Size

  • Shape
  • Solubility
  • Chemical properties
  • Charge
  • Surface porosity
  • 3. To assure safety we currently assess health effects on a case by case basis for each individual material.

What Are The Potential Health Hazards Of Nanoparticles?

  • Whilst we assess hazard on a case by case basis
  • There is some general information we can share:
  • There is high deposition efficiency throughout the respiratory tract.
  • Nanoparticles, because of increased surface area,
  • tend to cause greater lung inflammation than
  • regular sized parent material.
  • 3. At least some nanoparticles can pass through the lining of the respiratory tract (particularly the lungs) and relocate to other organs e.g.
  • Heart.
  • Liver
  • Central Nervous System

What Are The Potential Health Hazards Of Nanoparticles?

  • Based on the previous 2 slides some possible health effects are:
  • Lung inflammation.
  • Illness due to relocation of particles to other organs.
  • We assess each material we use to understand worker and consumer safety.
  • We consider:
  • Inhalation
  • Skin absorption
  • Oral ingestion

We will know enough to understand how to protect you in your particular situation.

  • You should never assume that the hazards are the same as for

regular size parent materials.


There are other possible work place safety hazards in addition to health:

1. Organic & metal dusts may present explosion / fire hazards.

  • Not all applications will generate dusts.
  • We can predict what situations could cause dusting.
  • We know how to prevent dust explosions:

- Explosion venting.

- Strong materials of construction.

- Pressure transducers to detect pressure rise followed by rapid deluging.

- Supplying an inert atmosphere.

Due to small size and large surface area the risk for fire and explosion

may be higher than for regular sized particles. However:

Dust explosion/ fire is a risk we know how to manage. Your HS&E resources can advise you.


There other possible work place safety hazards in addition to health:

  • Potential Environmental Hazards
  • We will assess materials individually to
  • address:
  • - air
  • - water
  • - solid waste
  • High efficiency filters or thermal oxidizers are expected to

remove nanoparticles from air streams.

  • For bench scale work we are disposing of liquid and solid wastes

by incineration or fixing them in concrete / cement.

  • For larger scale work we will ensure safe environmental

disposal on a case by case basis.


The next slide gives an overview of how we will ensure safe operation

Perform a risk assessment before starting any work with nanotechnology. Involve your site HS&E & Medical resources.

The risk assessment will identify appropriate controls and work

practices for your specific application.


Ensuring safe operation?

  • Key points that should be addressed during the risk assessment process:
  • How to avoid personnel being exposed to nanoparticles.
  • Assess the likelihood of a dust explosion / fire.
  • Disposal of wastes containing nanoparticles.
  • Decide who should be in a medical monitoring program.
  • Share your risk assessment with HS&E / Medical resources.

There follows 5 slides, going into more detail on the above.


Steps to avoid personnel being exposed to nanoparticles.

  • Use slurries instead of powders wherever possible.
  • Enclose the work process as much as possible & supply ventilation to capture emissions.

Full enclosure > fume hood > partial enclosure >> partial / no enclosure

with ventilation with LEV. with no ventilation (generally



Exposure 

  • Risk assessment conducted and procedures, in place for planned (i.e. routine) operation, routine maintenance, mishaps & clean up.
  • 4. Work to a standard of no recurring spills or leaks and no visible dust in the air or on surfaces.
  • 5. Prevent skin contact.
  • 6. Verify that exposure is controlled by visual inspection
  • & air sampling.

Steps to assess the likelihood of a dust explosion / fire.

Is the material


or a metal?


No risk of a dust explosion/fire


Could an aerosol

be generated

during the work?


No risk of a dust explosion/fire


Get advice for your specific situation from a Process Safety Resource.


Steps to decide how to dispose of wastes containing nanoparticles.

For bench scale work dispose of liquid and solid wastes containing

Nano materials as if they were hazardous wastes.

For Pilot and large scale work seek input from a professional HS&E resource.


Steps to decide who should be in a medical monitoring program.

Consult with an Occupational Medicine doctor.


What do we want you to do?

Create a culture whereby health & safety considerations are built into the work from the start:

  • Undertake a risk assessment in partnership with HS&E when
  • undertaking new nano work or significantly changing / scaling up current nano work. Also inform/ involve Occupational Health resources.
  • 2. Always follow the controls identified in the risk assessment.
  • 3. Report any mishaps / discuss any concerns with your manager and/or HS&E / Medical resource.
  • 4. Once the project has proven the concept think ahead to scale- up. Involve engineering and HS&E resources early.


The embedded document below contains a listing of frequently asked Questions and Answers that will give more detail on various aspects of nanotechnology beyond the power point slides.