Relating to the fact that the importance of nanomaterials increases constantly - in pharmaceutical use as well as in other fields of research and industrial manufacturing - the WHO published a guideline document entitled "WHO guidelines on protecting workers from potential risks of manufactured nanomaterials (MNM)" end of 2017. This document pays attention to the small particle size of such materials which offers unique possibilities to develop better paints, better drugs and faster electronics. However, at the same time it bears new hazards for humans and the environment. Therefore, new risk assessments, new test methods and new regulatory standards are needed.
Currently, the knowledge and data base about human exposure pathways, impact of the human body and metabolism and possible biological effects is lacking or only fragmentary for many substances. And there are no long term side effects known either. But this can be reasoned by the short history of such products. Therefore the WHO states: "Health recommendations must, therefore, be based on extrapolation of the evidence from in vitro, animal or other studies from fields that involve exposure to nanoscale particles, such as air pollution, to the possible effects in humans. Workers in all countries will be at the front line of exposure to these materials, placing them at increased risk for potential adverse health effects."
The new WHO document should now support responsible professionals in the field of occupational health and safety with recommendations on staff safety and protection from possible hazards as well as to guide additional workers and employers.
The WHO defined the following topics as important issues and questions:
For more information please read the complete "WHO guidelines on protecting workers from potential risks of manufactured nanomaterials".
In this context, please pay attention to ECAs, Loewe Center and Fraunhofer Institutes joint conference on "Nano and Micro Formulations" on 13/14 Marche 2018 in Berlin.