A standardized non-instrumental tool for characterizing workstations concerned with exposure to engineered nanomaterials

Abstract : The French national epidemiological surveillance program EpiNano aims at surveying mid- and long-term health effects possibly related with occupational exposure to either carbon nanotubes or titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2). EpiNano is limited to workers potentially exposed to these nanomaterials including their aggregates and agglomerates. In order to identify those workers during the in-field industrial hygiene visits, a standardized non-instrumental method is necessary especially for epidemiologists and occupational physicians unfamiliar with nanoparticle and nanomaterial exposure metrology. A working group, Quintet ExpoNano, including national experts in nanomaterial metrology and occupational hygiene reviewed available methods, resources and their practice in order to develop a standardized tool for conducting company industrial hygiene visits and collecting necessary information. This tool, entitled "Onsite technical logbook", includes 3 parts: company, workplace, and workstation allowing a detailed description of each task, process and exposure surrounding conditions. This logbook is intended to be completed during the company industrial hygiene visit. Each visit is conducted jointly by an industrial hygienist and an epidemiologist of the program and lasts one or two days depending on the company size. When all collected information is computerized using friendly-using software, it is possible to classify workstations with respect to their potential direct and/or indirect exposure. Workers appointed to workstations classified as concerned with exposure are considered as eligible for EpiNano program and invited to participate. Since January 2014, the Onsite technical logbook has been used in ten company visits. The companies visited were mostly involved in research and development. A total of 53 workstations with potential exposure to nanomaterials were pre-selected and observed: 5 with TiO2, 16 with single-walled carbon nanotubes, 27 multiwalled carbon nanotubes. Among the tasks observed there were: nanomaterial characterisation analysis (8), weighing (7), synthesis (6), functionalization (5), and transfer (5). The manipulated quantities were usually very small. After analysis of the data gathered in logbooks, 30 workstations have been classified as concerned with exposure to carbon nanotubes or TiO2. Additional tool validity as well as inter-and intra-evaluator reproducibility studies are ongoing. The first results are promising.
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I. Guseva Canu, C. Ducros, S. Ducamp, L. Delabre, S. Audignon-Durand, et al.. A standardized non-instrumental tool for characterizing workstations concerned with exposure to engineered nanomaterials. 4. International Conference on Safe Production and Use of Nanomaterials (Nanosafe 2014), Nov 2014, Grenoble, France. pp.art 012036, ⟨10.1088/1742-6596/617/1/012036⟩. ⟨ineris-01864677⟩

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