Nano materials exposure risks

New microscopic or nano materials exposure, raise health risks in construction, manufacturing, and agricultural pesticides.

New tests, impact studies, control measures would have to be developed to inform products and materials designers, protect workers and public health, concludes a study in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health.

Researchers at Oregon State University and in Europe list six legislation and awareness issues for industries using nano materials.

Stacey Harper, assistant professor of nano toxicology at Oregon, says new characteristics and uses of nano materials, says applications in pesticides are new and untested.

Nano risk testing

Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute is working on applications and implications. Advantages include smaller environmental impacts.

Oregon labs have tested 200 nano materials, and very few posed toxic risks.
A biomedical application to deliver a cancer drug, caused toxic response in some respondents, due to a surface chemistry that scientists now know to avoid.

Nano labelling

Pesticides are well tested and regulated compounds, and nano materials would have to comply. Manufacturers may not want to disclose all their nano components

Respiratory impacts of nano pesticides pose the largest human health risk.

Health surveillance

Testing would have to be done on commercial forms of pesticides. Health surveillance programs should be initiated by suppliers and users, and public educational programs developed.

Health risk assessments would have to be developed where babies, children, aged, or pregnant women may be exposed.

Nano chemistry differs from traditional chemistry. “Nano safety requires a coordinated effort between government, industry, academic and public entities”, the scientists report.

Oregon also studies agriculture and food systems, and environmental resources management.

PHOTO; Carbon nanotubes are among several stock nano applications. The material is manufactured in several variant states, used for unique mechanical properties, or to absorb or deliver other nano materials.

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