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Nanotechnology and its Impact on the SH&E Profession Presented by Robert C. Adams, MS, CIH, CSP ENVIRON International Corporation Princeton NJ Overview Nanotechnology – a primer Applications for nanomaterials Types of engineered nanomaterials

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nanotechnology and its impact on the sh e profession

Nanotechnology and its Impact on the SH&E Profession

Presented by Robert C. Adams, MS, CIH, CSP

ENVIRON International Corporation

Princeton NJ

  • Nanotechnology – a primer
    • Applications for nanomaterials
    • Types of engineered nanomaterials
  • Managing Uncertainty – The concern for nanoparticles
    • Toxicological studies
    • Health issues
    • Safety issues
    • Environmental issues
  • Engineering, PPE and administrative controls
    • Current thinking on ‘traditional’ control methods
  • Moving forward with SH&E management – what to do now
  • Terminology
    • Nano - A prefix meaning one billionth (1/1,000,000,000)
    • Nanotechnology
      • Research and development of materials at the atomic, molecular or macromolecular levels,
      • Approximately 1 - 100 nanometer range.
      • Embraces a wide range of applications and products
      • Little agreement on the terminology
    • Nanomaterial – any material that contains a certain proportion, or is composed entirely of, nanoparticles
  • Terminology (con’t)
    • Nanoparticle - nanometer-scale particles that are initially produced as aerosols or colloidal suspensions
    • Nanotubes
      • single-wall carbon nanotube
      • multi-wall carbon nanotubes
  • Terminology (con’t)
    • Nanowires
      • Small conducting or semi-conducting nanoparticles with a single crystal structure and a typical diameter of a few 10s of nanometers and a large aspect ratio.
    • Quantum Dots
      • Nanoparticles made up of hundreds to thousands of atoms that behave like a single gigantic atom.

Materials used as light-emitting diodes with the color determined by the size of the quantum dots

Source: Phillips

Carbon Nanotubes

Source: BBC News July 29, 2004


Model of a C-60 Buckminster Fullerene (Buckyball)

Silver nanowire 50nm thick, 100nm wide and 5µm long

Source: Quantronics

  • Purposely engineered materials and devices that demonstrate new, unique and non-scalable properties and behavior due to their size and configuration
  • Will use “nanoparticle” in all further discussions
why nanoparticles
Why Nanoparticles?
  • Nanoparticles < 50 nm have properties that do not follow classical laws of physics
    • Follow quantum physics
      • Can assume different physical, optical, electrical or magnetic properties
  • Nanoparticles have greater ratio of surface area to mass
    • Greater reactivity with other substances
applications for nanoparticles
Applications for Nanoparticles
  • Nanotechnology is in the “pre-competitive” stage but…
  • Nanoparticles are here now!
    • Bumpers on cars
    • Paints and coatings
    • Stain-free clothing and mattresses
    • Burn and wound dressings
    • Ink
    • Protective and glare-reducing coatings for eyeglasses and windshields
    • Metal-cutting tools
    • Sunscreens and cosmetics
    • Longer-lasting tennis balls and light-weight, stronger tennis racquets
managing uncertainty
Managing Uncertainty
  • What do we know about these nanoparticles?
  • What don’t we know?
    • Does the nature of nanoparticles present new safety and health risks?
    • What are the potential risks and what is the magnitude?
      • We know very little about health effects (though many are laying the foundation)
managing uncertainty13
Managing Uncertainty
  • What are (or could be) the
    • Occupational health effects;
    • Safety hazards; and
    • Environmental impacts?
managing uncertainty14
Managing Uncertainty
  • What can be expected concerning regulating nanotechnology risks?
    • There are no laws in the US currently regulating nanotechnology
  • What additional pressures will drive SH&E efforts
    • Insurance
    • Investors
    • Litigation
    • Moral and ethical obligations to the workforce and community
managing uncertainty15
Managing Uncertainty
  • What prudent steps are needed to manage the uncertainty?
    • Currently, SH&E programs are in the early stages of development
    • Now is the time to define needs
managing uncertainty16
Bottom Line

Can we achieve the promises of nanotechnology while minimizing potential risks?

Managing Uncertainty
workplace issues
Workplace Issues
  • Current workforce mixed
    • R&D operations
    • Technology-based
    • Large numbers of small facilities and labs
    • Universities and small enterprises
workplace issues19
Workplace Issues
  • Explosive growth projected in commercialization of nanotechnology
  • Hundreds of thousands of new and redefined jobs
  • Increasing shift toward piloting and ramping-up production operations
  • Full-scale production is projected to take years
workplace issues20
Workplace Issues
  • Employees in all areas will have potential for exposure
  • Workforce is on the front line
    • Appropriate controls available?
    • Methods to measure exposure?
toxicological issues
Toxicological Issues
  • Properties of nanoparticles that will influence toxicity
    • Particle size
      • Key factor in where particles deposit in the lung
      • May influence ability of nanoparticles to translocation to other organs
    • Composition/Structure
      • Presence of heavy metals (nickel, beryllium, aluminum, etc.)
      • Carbon nanotubes may exert different effects than carbon nanoparticles
toxicological issues22
Toxicological Issues
  • Properties of nanoparticles that will influence toxicity (con’t)
    • Solubility
      • Soluble particles can dissolve in moist tissues
      • Insoluble particles may be cleared from the lungs or may translocate to other organs
    • Surface area/structure
      • Smaller particles greater surface area
      • More chemical reactivity
      • More sites for cell/protein interaction
      • Oxidative stresstoxicity, DNA damage, tumors
toxicological issues23
Toxicological Issues
  • Scientific basis of toxicology, epidemiology (exposure assessment and risk evaluation) lagging behind
    • Inherently slower
    • Long-term effects subject to long latency periods
  • Production could outpace protections
  • Not all materials will be problematic
toxicological risks
Toxicological Risks
  • Potential for increased absorption?
    • Increased absorption and penetration of biological barriers
    • Ability to reach deep airways
    • Systemic distribution
    • Penetrate blood-brain barrier
  • Potential for new toxicities from engineered nanomaterials?
toxicity research
Toxicity Research
  • Relatively few studies on engineered nanomaterials
    • In vitro, isolated cells or tissues
    • Short-term animal studies, mostly rodents
    • Direct introduction to the lungs
  • Studies on related materials
    • Metal fume
    • Ultrafine particulates (esp. beryllium)
    • Mineral fibers
limitations of current data
Limitations of Current Data
  • No studies greater than 3 months duration
  • No dose-response data
  • No developmental/reproductive studies
  • No chronic bioassays
  • Not possible to set health protective limits without assumptions about toxicity relative to that of the same macro-scale material
industrial hygiene issues
Industrial Hygiene Issues
  • Exposure Metrics
  • Exposure Monitoring
  • Ventilation Control
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Respiratory Protection
exposure metrics
Exposure Metrics
  • Nanoparticles may not be suitable for comparison to ‘traditional’ exposure metrics
    • Mass based metrics may understate exposures
  • Particle number and/or surface area metrics may be a more reliable indicator of exposure
exposure metrics30
Exposure Metrics
  • Some consideration of particle size fractions may be relevant
    • Number of particles less than 100 nm; 50 nm; 10 nm
  • One type metric may not be suitable for all
exposure metrics31
Exposure Metrics
  • Current research related to beryllium exposure and prevalence of disease indicates traditional metrics (mass per unit volume) may not be protective
  • Alternative metrics based on particle size, particle number, or particle surface area may be more indicative of risk
exposure monitoring
Exposure Monitoring
  • If traditional exposure metrics are not applicable, traditional monitoring methods will not be viable to assess exposure
  • What Do You Measure?
exposure monitoring33
Exposure Monitoring
  • There are limited air sampling methods
    • Real time particle counters / particle sizers
    • Cascade impactors in the nanoparticle range
    • High resolution TEM

Three stage nanoparticle cascade impactor capable of proving three particle size fractions - 32, 18 and 10 nm.

Source: MSP Corporation

Condensation particle counter capable of measuring particles to 10 nm.

Source: TSI

exposure monitoring35
Exposure Monitoring
  • Traditional filter/gravimetric methods cannot be used
    • 1 µm particle weighs 1,000,000 times more than a 10 nm particle
    • Larger particles mask the weight of nanoparticles
    • Mass concentration must be inferred from measured size distribution + number concentration
exposure monitoring36
Exposure Monitoring
  • An ideal sampler would be able to measure particle surface area and particle number within several size fractions
    • Such a sampler is not currently available
  • Most likely monitoring will require using combinations of instruments
  • Costs are significant
exposure monitoring37
Exposure Monitoring
  • Personal sampling techniques not readily available
  • Current research on cutting edge beryllium sampling methods may lead to methods that may have application to nanoparticles
    • Additional study is needed to more fully characterize and validate the sampling methodologies
considerations for control
Considerations for Control
  • Nanoparticle behavior will influence control approaches
    • Behave more like gases
      • migrate from areas of highest concentration
    • May agglomerate
    • Gravitational settling much slower than other particle types
    • May widely disperse
    • Re-suspension may be a concern
considerations for control39
Considerations for Control
  • Ultrafine particles in mixtures have been a concern for SH&E professionals
    • Diesel exhaust fumes
    • Welding fumes
    • Carbon black
    • Dust created in the destruction of the WTC (including asbestos and silica)
considerations for control40
Considerations for Control
  • Applications of exhaust ventilation
    • Nanoparticles may present the following challenges
      • Effectiveness of filtration
      • Design of hoods and enclosures
      • Capture and transport velocities
    • Current thinking is that conventional local exhaust ventilation approaches should work
      • Design must consider both gaseous and particulate behavior
considerations for control41
Considerations for Control
  • Design and installation of ventilation systems based on controlling gas and particulate will provide prudent first steps for worker protection
    • E.g.; fine wood dust particulates, welding fumes and vapors from stationary sources
    • Application of design principals based on ACGIH Ventilation Manual
considerations for control42
Considerations for Control
  • Use of respiratory protection
    • Nanoparticles may present the following challenges
      • Filtration of ultrafine particulates
      • Criticality of facial seal for negative pressure respirators
      • Effectiveness of positive pressure respirators
      • Appropriateness of fit factors or protection factors
considerations for control43
Considerations for Control
  • Current thinking is that modern respiratory protection technology is sufficient, but more research is needed
    • New filter media? New materials of construction?
    • Fit testing methods may require further improvements
considerations for control44
Considerations for Control
  • PPE
    • Nanoparticles may present the following challenges
      • Small sized particles may easily penetrate traditional knit clothing
      • Ocular exposure a concern?
    • Modern PPE materials of construction will likely provide protection from all but the smallest materials
    • Ocular protection may present some additional challenges
considerations for control45
Considerations for Control
  • SH&E professionals will be challenged to
    • evaluate dermal exposure pathways
    • utilize published guidance in selection of PPE ensembles
    • develop implementation schemes
    • assess effectiveness of implementation
safety issues
Safety Issues
  • Fire / Explosion Hazards
    • Composition of nanoparticles
    • Increased surface area = more easily ignited?
    • Nanoparticles may persist for longer in the air
    • Risk could be either greater or smaller
environmental issues
Environmental Issues
  • Increased concern about releases beyond immediate application / manufacturing site
  • Consider potential releases via
    • Take-home exposures
    • Transport
    • Manufacturing waste streams
    • Product waste streams
environmental issues48
Environmental Issues
  • Available pathways to air, soil or water
  • Little is known about the fate of nanoparticles in the environment
    • Will such materials be assimilated
    • How mobile and persistent
    • What breakdown products may be produced due to environmental transformation/degradation
model for action

Prudent workforce protection and occupational health strategies

Scientific foundations

Appropriate regulation

Protective of health

Supportive of safe production

Model for Action
scientific base
Scientific Base
  • Scientific foundation must be built in parallel to prudent workplace measures
  • Societal obligation to generate and publish scientific findings
  • Necessary to support policy formulation
regulatory framework
Regulatory Framework
  • A realistic regulatory framework will ultimately be needed
  • NIOSH is currently in the forefront on workforce matters
    • “NIOSH is pursuing strategic, multidisciplinary research that will help practitioners, with greater certainty, to apply the well-established principles of occupational safety and health to workplace exposures involving nanomaterials.”
    • “NIOSH is evaluating the unique benefits that nanotechnology may bring to improving occupational safety and health.”
regulatory framework52
Regulatory Framework
  • OSHA is only in the formative stages of gathering information
    • Standards that would currently be applicable
      • Hazard communication – 1910.1200
      • Occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals in laboratories. - 1910.1450
      • Respiratory protection – 1910.134
      • Personal protective equipment – 1910.132
regulatory framework53
Regulatory Framework
  • EPA
    • TSCA is one of the statutes under which commercial applications will likely be regulated
    • Key question - Is a nanoparticle of a chemical which is intended to impart new chemical and/or physical properties, to be considered:
      • a new chemical;
      • a significant new use of an existing chemical;
      • a modified but not significant new use of an existing chemical; or
      • none of the above?
regulatory framework54
Regulatory Framework
  • Most likely, TSCA will apply at some level
    • EPA probably will not treat nanoparticles as “new chemical substances”
    • EPA probably will treat each new category of nanoparticles as a “significant new use”
practical approaches
Practical Approaches
  • Identify individuals that may be at risk
  • Identify others who are at little to no risk, for comparison
  • Work in conjunction with other professionals (toxicologists and epidemiologists)
practical approaches56
Practical Approaches
  • Prioritization of issues
  • Identifying pragmatic approaches
    • Classifying substances
    • Performance-based controls
      • Adaptations of existing successful approaches
      • Potent compounds model (pharma, biotech, microbiological)
practical approaches57
Practical Approaches
  • Not all substances of equal concern
    • Unclear which are priority materials
    • Understanding is evolving
  • Ability to be proactive vs. reactive
  • Exposure reduction, control
practical approaches58
Practical approaches
  • Engineering control of exposure
  • PPE and employee training
  • Exposure monitoring
  • Health surveillance
  • Willing to adjust or pull the plug if necessary
  • Limited available science should not deter development of effective safeguards
    • Build on existing models
    • Err conservatively
  • Multidisciplinary approaches will be needed
  • Objective communication of both risks and safety critical in an environment susceptible to sensationalism
    • Substantiated through science and practice
    • Not limited to scientific community
    • Nanotechnology will challenge conventional approaches to addressing occupational safety and health risk
thank you

Thank You