2012-08-01 12:00 - Messages

Nanotech dangers outlined

It has been known for some time that inhaling tiny fibres made by the nanotechnology industry could cause similar health problems to asbestos. This is borne out by new research by the University of Edinburgh published in Toxicology Sciences. Research on mice, suggests the longer nanofibres are even more dangerous. Some of these fibres are similar in shape to asbestos fibres, which cause lung cancers such as mesothelioma. Nanofibres, which can be made from a range of materials including carbon, are about 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair and can reach the lung cavity when inhaled. The study found that lung cells were not affected by short fibres that were less than five-thousandths of a millimetre long but longer fibres could reach the lung cavity, where they become stuck and cause disease. Ken Donaldson, Professor of Respiratory Toxicology at the University of Edinburgh, said: "Concern has been expressed that new kinds of nanofibres being made by nanotechnology industries might pose a risk because they have a similar shape to asbestos. We knew that long fibres, compared with shorter fibres, could cause tumours but until now we did not know the cut-off length at which this happened. Knowing the length beyond which the tiny fibres can cause disease is important in ensuring that safe fibres are made in the future as well as helping to understand the current risk from asbestos and other fibres." Hugh Robertson, head of health and safety at the TUC said 'many of these lung cancers can take 25 to 50 years to develop. Nanofibres are already widely used to strengthen a wide range of materials and unless we make sure that we are taking adequate precautions we face a potential time bomb similar to what has happened with asbestos. However this research should not be taken to mean that short fibres are safe. In 2004 the HSE produced guidance that said that employers must take a precautionary approach when using nanomaterials. It is important that steps are taken to ensure that this is happening.'

Source:Schinwald, A.; Murphy, F.; Prina-Mello, A.; Poland, C.; Byrne, F.; Glass, J.; Dickerson, J.; Schultz, D.;  Movia, D.; Jeffree, C.; MacNee, W.; Donaldson, K.. The threshold length for fibre-induced acute pleural inflammation: shedding light on the early events in asbestos-induced mesothelioma. Toxicol. Sci., first published online May 12, 2012


Exposure to electromagnetic fields from laptop use of "laptop" computers

"Portable computers are often used at tight contact with the body and therefore are called "laptop." The authors measured electromagnetic fields (EMFs) laptop computers produce and estimated the induced currents in the body, to assess the safety of laptop computers. The authors evaluated 5 commonly used laptop of different brands. They measured EMF exposure produced and, using validated computerized models, the authors exploited the data of one of the laptop computers (LTCs) to estimate the magnetic flux exposure of the user and of the fetus in the womb, when the laptop is used at close contact with the woman's womb. In the LTCs analyzed, EMF values (range 1.8-6 ?T) are within International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation (NIR) Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines, but are considerably higher than the values recommended by 2 recent guidelines for computer monitors magnetic field emissions, MPR II (Swedish Board for Technical Accreditation) and TCO (Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees), and those considered risky for tumor development. When close to the body, the laptop induces currents that are within 34.2% to 49.8% ICNIRP recommendations, but not negligible, to the adult's body and to the fetus (in pregnant women). On the contrary, the power supply induces strong intracorporal electric current densities in the fetus and in the adult subject, which are respectively 182-263% and 71-483% higher than ICNIRP 98 basic restriction recommended to prevent adverse health effects. Laptop is paradoxically an improper site for the use of a LTC, which consequently should be renamed to not induce customers towards an improper use."

Source : Bellieni, C.V. ;  Pinto, I. ;  Bogi, A. ;  Zoppetti, M.S. ;  Andreuccetti, M.S. ;  Buonocore, G. Exposure to electromagnetic fields from laptop use of "laptop" computers. Archives of Environmental and Occupational Health, vol. 67, no 1, 2012. p. 31-36. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19338244.2011.564232#preview

Série de publications sur la sécurité des nanomatériaux manufacturés

The purpose of the OECD Series on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials is to provide up-to-date information on the diverse activities at OECD related to human health and environmental safety.

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Base de données sur la recherche en matière de sécurité des nanomatériaux

As part of the OECD activities to promote international co-operation in addressing human health and environmental safety aspects of manufactured nanomaterials, the OECD has developed a global resource which collects research projects that address environmental, human health and safety issues of manufactured nanomaterials. This database holds details of completed, current and planned research projects on safety, which are to be updated (electronically) by delegations. This database is also intended to be an inventory of information on research programmes to help the other projects of the WPMN by identifying relevant research projects or storing information derived from the projects of the WPMN, including the sponsorship programme on the testing of manufactured nanomaterials.

Source :http://www.oecd.org/env/chemicalsafetyandbiosafety/safetyofmanufacturednanomaterials/oecddatabaseonresearchintothesafetyofmanufacturednanomaterials.htm

Valeur toxicologique de référence pour le chlorure de vinyle : Avis de l’Anses Rapport d’expertise collective

Dans le cadre du programme de travail de l'Anses sur les VTRs cancérogènes, une phase pilote a été organisée afin de s'assurer de la mise en pratique de la méthode de construction proposée. Des profils toxicologiques et des VTRs ont été construits sous formes de prestation pour le benzène, le cadmium, l'éthanol, le naphtalène et le chlorure de vinyle.

Source : http://www.anses.fr/Documents/CHIM2009sa0348Ra.pdf

Un guide sur les risques biologiques en génie génétique

L’INRS vient de publier un nouveau guide concernant les risques biologiques liés aux techniques de génie génétique en laboratoire. Cette brochure (de référence ED 6131) rappelle les mécanismes de base utilisés en génie génétique. Elle présente les différents éléments nécessaires à la production d’un organisme génétiquement modifié (insert, vecteur, organismes donneur et receveur) et les dangers potentiels de chacun de ces éléments. Ce guide a pour objectif d'aider les personnes en charge de la surveillance médicale et de la prévention à mieux comprendre et évaluer les risques biologiques liés à la construction et la manipulation des OGM en laboratoire. La première partie rappelle les mécanismes moléculaires de base. La seconde présente les différents éléments nécessaires à la production d'un OGM : insert, vecteur, organismes donneur et receveur (les manipulations sur animaux et végétaux ne sont pas abordées ici). La troisième partie, qui peut se lire indépendamment des précédentes, expose les dangers potentiels de chacun de ces éléments.
Des arbres décisionnels reprennent les principales questions que peuvent se poser les médecins ou les préventeurs, afin d'évaluer les dangers de chaque élément participant à la construction de l'organisme génétiquement modifié.

Source : http://www.inrs.fr/accueil/produits/mediatheque/doc/publications.html?refINRS=ED 6131

Neurotoxic exposures and effects: Gender and sex matter! Hänninen Lecture 2011

Donna Mergler, cofondatrice du CINBIOSE, a écrit un article portant sur l'importance du genre et du sexe dans les recherches en neurotoxicologie de l'environnement et du travail. Trop peu de recherches en tiennent compte et ne différencient pas clairement le genre et le sexe. C'est pourquoi l'auteure souligne que c'est un impératif d'en tenir compte!

Source : Mergler, D. Neurotoxic exposures and effects: Gender and sex matter! Ha¨nninen Lecture 2011. Neurotoxicology. 2012. http://www.cinbiose.uqam.ca/upload/files/Mergler_2012_Neurotox_gender__sex.pdf


Risk perception and risk communication with regard to nanomaterials in the workplace

Manufactured nanomaterials can bring huge benefits to society but there are concerns about their health and environmental hazards. This literature review shows that there are also serious gaps in the awareness of the potential risks involved in handling manufactured nanomaterials in the workplace, and serious shortcomings in the way that those risks are communicated to the workplace. Effective, transparent, balanced and open risk communication strategies tailored to workplaces are needed to help employers and workers make informed decisions and put adequate prevention measures in place.

Source : http://osha.europa.eu/en/publications/literature_reviews/risk-perception-and-risk-communication-with-regard-to-nanomaterials-in-the-workplace

HSE tells companies to improve their management of legionella risks

Businesses are being told to do more to protect workers and members of the public from exposure to legionella. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a safety notice after identifying common failings in legionella control from a review of outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease in GB over the past ten years. HSE's findings confirmed that cooling towers and evaporative condensers are the most common source of significant outbreaks. Ninety per cent of outbreaks stem from failure to recognise potential legionella problems or to adopt effective control measures.

Source : http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2012/hse-legionella-safety-notice.htm

Expertise et recherche-action sur les cancers professionnels : neuf ans d’enquête pour mieux identifier les expositions professionnelles et environnementales

Au sein de l'ouvrage « Santé au travail. Approche critique », qui dresse un tableau des avancées des connaissances sur le lien entre santé et travail, un chapitre est consacré aux travaux du GISCOP 931. Ce texte revient sur les carences des dispositifs scientifiques susceptibles d'estimer le nombre de cancers professionnels, leurs origines et leurs liens avec les substances utilisées dans les parcours professionnels. Sur cette base, pendant les neuf premières années de travail de terrain en Seine-Saint-Denis, l'équipe pluridisciplinaire du GISCOP 93 a produit un dispositif de recherche désireux de pallier au manque de connaissances sur l'exposition professionnelle à des cancérogènes

Équipe GISCOP 93 . Les cancers professionnels à l'épreuve des parcours professionnels exposés aux cancérogènes. Dans Daubas V, Frigul N, Jobin P, Thébaud-Mony A. Santé au travail, Approches critiques. Eds La Découverte. 2012 :217-35

Source : http://www.anses.fr/Documents/BVS-mg-018.pdf (p. 54)

Safe Handling of Advanced Nanomaterials

In the last five years, research and development activities in the field of nanotechnology have shifted to include advanced nanomaterials. The main feature of advanced nanomaterials that distinguishes them from simpler nanomaterials, such as carbon black and nanoscale TiO2 used primarily as additives, is the ability of advanced nanomaterials to change or evolve properties during their use, as a result of intended and unintended reactions to the external environment.  Examples of advanced nanomaterials include nanomaterials functionalized for specific applications, such as nanoscale gold used in cancer treatment therapies, quantum dots used in medical imaging of the body, and carbon nanotubes and graphene used in electronics.  Depending on the type of nanomaterial and the conditions of exposure, such a change of properties may result in health risks to workers handling advanced nanomaterials if exposure is not adequately controlled.

Source : http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2012/07/handling-nano/

Effects of Chemical Co-exposures at Doses Relevant for Human Safety Assessments

Chemical regulation is mainly based on single substances, but exposure is to complex mixtures, which raises the question of whether the regulatory framework is adequate and protective. There has long been an interest in the toxicology of mixtures, but most studies have been conducted at effect levels for the components of a mixture. This review focused specifically on studies where a mixture has been tested at doses which are at or below the NO(A)EL for every component of the mixture. This is the only dose region in which mixture toxicity could threaten regulatory safety margins. A thorough literature review was conducted using this selection criterion and others, for example only studies using models of mammalian systems were considered. Most studies that were examined failed to meet the selection criteria, but a total of 91 relevant papers were identified. An additional literature review identified 52 papers in which studies of real or artificial mixtures representing environmental exposures were reported, e.g. tap water.

Source : http://www.ecetoc.org/index.php?mact=MCSoap,cntnt01,details,0&cntnt01by_category=22&cntnt01order_by=date%20Desc&cntnt01template=display_list_v2&cntnt01display_template=display_details_v2&cntnt01document_id=6370&cntnt01returnid=59

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