September 19, 2021

Volume XI, Number 262

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September 17, 2021

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NIOSH CIB on Health Effect of Occupational Exposure to Silver Nanomaterials Includes REL for Silver Nanomaterials

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has published Current Intelligence Bulletin 70: Health Effects of Occupational Exposure to Silver Nanomaterials. According to the Current Intelligence Bulletin (CIB), NIOSH assessed potential health risk from exposure to silver nanomaterials by evaluating more than 100 studies of silver nanomaterials in animals or cells. The CIB states that recent studies in animals have demonstrated that biologic activity and potential adverse health effects are related to particle size. Adverse health effects of nanoscale silver particles, including early stage lung inflammation and liver hyperplasia, have been observed in rats following inhalation exposure. NIOSH considers these responses relevant to workers and estimated the risks to workers based on these animal data. NIOSH derived a recommended exposure limit (REL) for silver nanomaterials (<100 nanometers (nm) primary particle size) of 0.9 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) as an airborne respirable eight-hour time-weighted average (TWA) concentration. The CIB notes that NIOSH continues to recommend a REL of 10 μg/m3 as an eight-hour TWA for total silver (metal dust, fume, and soluble compounds, as Ag). NIOSH further recommends the use of workplace exposure assessments, engineering controls, safe work procedures, training and education, and established medical surveillance approaches to protect workers.

NIOSH “recommends that employers disseminate this information to workers and customers and requests that professional and trade associations and labor organizations inform their members about the potential hazards of occupational exposure to silver nanomaterials.” NIOSH RELs are non-mandatory occupational exposure limits (OEL), unlike the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) permissible exposure limits (PEL), which are codified and are legally enforceable.

©2021 Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 141
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Lynn Bergeson, Campbell PC, Toxic Substances Control Act Attorney, federal insecticide lawyer, industrial biotechnology legal counsel, Food Drug Administration law
Managing Partner

Lynn L. Bergeson has earned an international reputation for her deep and expansive understanding of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), European Union Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), and especially how these regulatory programs pertain to nanotechnology, industrial biotechnology, synthetic biology, and other emerging transformative technologies. Her knowledge of and involvement in the policy process allows her to develop client-focused strategies whether...

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Carla Hutto, Bergeson Campbell PC environmental law regulatory analyst,Toxic Substances Control Act law attorney
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Since 1996, Carla Hutton has monitored, researched, and written about regulatory and legislative issues that may potentially affect Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) clients. She is responsible for creating a number of monthly and quarterly regulatory updates for B&C's clients, as well as other documents, such as chemical-specific global assessments of regulatory developments and trends. She authors memoranda for B&C clients on regulatory and legislative developments, providing information that is focused, timely and applicable to client...

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