2009-03-01 12:00 - Messages

Expert forecast on emerging chemical risks related to occupational safety and health

The Community strategy on heath and safety at work 2002-2006 called on the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work to ‘set up a risk observatory' to ‘anticipate new and emerging risks'. Within this context, a series of four expert forecasts were formulated with the aim of providing as comprehensive as possible a picture of the potential emerging risks in the world of work. Three reports on emerging physical risks, biological risks and psychosocial risks have already been published. This publication (the last one of the series) presents the results of the forecast on emerging chemical risks related to occupational safety and health based on an expert survey and a literature review.


Le système américain de régulation des risques liés aux nanotechnologies doit être revu et corrigé

Les risques potentiels liés au nanotechnologies sont encore une fois sujets d'une étude publiée dans le journal Environmental Science and Technology, par des chercheurs de l'University of Britsh Colombia et l'University of Minnesota. La conclusion n'étonnera personne : d'après l'étude, le système américain actuel de régulation des produits commercialisés issus des nanotechnologies doit être changé.



Pollution par les particules dans l’air ambiant
Pollution par les particules dans l’air ambiant : synthèse des éléments sanitaires en vue d’un appui à l’élaboration de seuils d’information et d’alerte du public pour les particules dans l’air ambiant
Les ministères de la santé et de l’environnement ont mis en œuvre une nouvelle méthode de mesure des particules dans l’air ambiant à compter du 1er janvier 2007. Elle prend désormais mieux en compte la composante volatile des particules. Cela peut conduire à une élévation des concentrations mesurées. Les analyses chimiques ont mis en évidence que le nitrate d’ammonium pouvait représenter une fraction importante de cette composante volatile.
Nanotechnology Regulation: Various Items
CSA Standard helps clear toxic smoke from operating rooms
Surgical lasers and advanced operating techniques may create occupational hazard for healthcare workers.
Canadian Standards Association (CSA), a leading developer of standards and codes, announces Canada's first standard to help protect healthcare workers in surgical, diagnostic, therapeutic and aesthetic settings exposed to noxious airborne contaminants, collectively called "plume." Procedures that require instruments such as surgical lasers to treat a patient can generate toxic smoke and other vapours that may create an occupational health risk for healthcare workers and other professionals.
Persistent Pulmonary Fibrosis, Migration to the Pleura, and Other Preliminary New Findings after Subchronic Exposure to Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes
Multi-walled carbon nanotubes, known as MWCNTs for short, are a type of engineered nanomaterial that shows promise for various applications. These include the potential for creating stronger, more durable building materials; improving cancer therapies; creating more efficient means of energy generation, storage, and transmission; and speeding computer processes. However, as with other types of engineered nanomaterials, the potential occupational health implications of MWNCTs are not well understood at this emergent stage of the technology. A broad group of health and safety practitioners and business observers have agreed that research is vital for determining if MWCNTs pose a health risk for workers engaged in their production and industrial use, and for informing the responsible development of this technology. There is general agreement that this issue must be approached in a proactive manner with good research in order for society to benefit from the many promises this new class of materials has to offer.
Blood lead exposure – Latest figures
This event will provide practical advice and guidance on implementing Human Factors within effective management procedures, and give you the opportunity to have open discussion with the HSE on any issues. The event will outline standards that HSE inspectors will be looking for when inspecting Human Factors topics on COMAH and other chemical sites.
Mining circulars updated

The following mining circulars have been updated:

  • Dust sampling on wet and muddy roadways SPC/TECH/SI1/06 - Previously spc/tech/ld05/06
  • Pneumoconiosis - Radiographic classification SPC/TECH/SI1/02 - Previously spc/tech/ld5/02


The Impact of Toxicity Testing Costs on Nanomaterial Regulation
In their short study "The Impact of Toxicity Testing Costs on Nanomaterial Regulation", available at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es802388s Jae-Young Choi, Gurumurthy Ramachandran and Mililand Kandikar note that in the United States "the entire burden of data collection and risk assessment is placed on agencies without the budgetary means to carry out this mandate".  EPA and OSHA, the agencies largely involved in data collection, simply don't have the funds to do the job they've been assigned by law.
Risk management of carbon
This information sheet is specifically about the manufacture and manipulation of carbon nanotubes and has been prepared in response to emerging evidence about the toxicology of these materials. However, the risk management principles detailed here are equally applicable to other nanodimensioned bio-persistent fibres with a similar aspect ratio.
Ontario hosts first research centre for occupational cancer
Wayne Fraser was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1997. Today, Fraser is cancer-free, but like many other cancer patients, there was no way of knowing the cause of the disease or whether it was related to years of exposure to carcinogens in the workplace.
This uncertainty in the area of occupational cancer may be about to change with the launch of Canada’s first Occupational Cancer Research Centre. Established through the collaboration of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), Cancer Care Ontario, United Steelworkers (USW) and the Ontario division of Cancer Care Society, the new research centre will be devoting its studies to help identify, prevent and ultimately eliminate workers’ exposure to cancer-causing agents in the workplace.
Nouvelle version Altrex Chimie
Découvrez la nouvelle version d'Altrex Chimie, logiciel d'aide à l'évaluation de l'exposition aux substances chimiques. Cette mise à jour peut être téléchargée gratuitement. Elle offre de nouvelles fonctionnalités et permet notamment de gérer davantage de variables et d'agents chimiques différents et d'exporter des données. Son interface a été améliorée.
"Regulation and Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials -- Too Little, Too Late?"
Steffen Foss Hansen is a Ph.D. candidate at the Technical University of Denmark's Department of Environmental Engineering.    Here is a link to his well-written Ph.D. thesis -- "Regulation and Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials -- Too Little, Too Late?"
Dr. Hansen's thesis investigates whether existing environmental, health, and safety regulations and risk assessment techniques are adequate for nanotechnology and provides "some recommendations on how to govern nanotechnologies."   While I don't always agree with Dr. Hansen on nano-related EHS issues, there is no doubt that his work is detailed, thorough, and thought provoking. 
Risque biologique en milieu professionnel
Les agents biologiques sont présents dans tous les environnements de travail. Certains sont responsables de maladies chez l'homme : infections, allergies, intoxications... Le risque biologique doit être évalué et des mesures de prévention spécifiques mises en place. Selon le secteur professionnel, il est possible d'agir à différents niveaux, sur le réservoir d'agents biologiques, sur leurs modes de transmission et sur les portes d'entrée dans l'organisme. Dans tous les cas, les mesures d'hygiène individuelle restent essentielles.
Occupational, domestic and environmental mesothelioma risks in Britain
By 1970 Britain led the world in asbestos regulation, yet the British mesothelioma death-rate is now the highest in the world, with 1740 deaths in men (1 in 40 of all male cancer deaths below age 80) and 316 in women in 2006. According to the latest HSE projection about 1 in 170 of all British men born in the 1940s will die of mesothelioma. The increase in mesothelioma mortality in Britain over the last 40 years is the legacy of widespread use of asbestos. Substantial exposures continued until about 1970 in parts of the asbestos industry, and until the early 1980s in the much larger workforce in construction and other occupations where asbestos lagging was applied or AIB (asbestos insulation board) was sawn. Most mesotheliomas now occurring are
due to exposures prior to 1980, and analyses of British mesothelioma deaths based on last recorded occupation suggest that former construction workers, particularly plumbers, electricians and carpenters, constitute the main high risk group, together with insulation workers, shipbuilders and locomotive engineers. However, until now, no representative study to quantify the relationship between mesothelioma risk and lifetime occupational and residential
history has been carried out in Britain. A separate scientific publication of the results set out in this report is also available(Rake et al., 2009).
Issues in Developing Worker Epidemiological Studies Related to Engineered Nanoparticles Are Discussed in Paper
Scientists from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and a colleague from Emory University identify issues that researchers will need to consider in designing sound epidemiological studies of workers who may be exposed to engineered nanoparticles in the manufacturing and commercial use of nanomaterials.
The issues are described and discussed in a paper published on-line, ahead of print, on Feb. 21 by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The JOEM citation is 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181990c2c.

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