Growing evidence nanomaterials are harmful
The growing evidence from animal studies that nanomaterials can be harmful to health should compel employers to eliminate or reduce exposure to the tiny particles through the hierarchy of controls – immediately, according to special guidance from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).
Some studies have shown that mice developed pulmonary inflammation and fibrosis after exposure to single-wall carbon nanotubes, while some multi-walled carbon nanotubes have been linked to mesothelioma in mice, leading to the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifying them as "possibly carcinogenic to humans". Other animal studies have found that nanomaterials can move through the body, such as from the nasal cavity to the brain via the olfactory nerve tract,
ACOEM also warns that workplace exposure to engineered nanomaterials is unlikely to be confined to initial manufacturing processes, as it could also occur during "maintenance or modification activities, such as cutting, sanding, or drilling, which disrupt finished products or components fabricated with nanomaterials".
While the national code for Safety Data Sheets recommends including this information, ACOEM says in its guidance document (published by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine): "At the present time, safety data sheets and other safety information that accompanies finished products may not reliably indicate the presence of engineered nanomaterials or their potential release during typical or atypical activities that may disturb or disrupt the product."
Read more: Fischmann, Michael, MD; Murashov, Vladimir, PhD; Borak, Jonathan, MD; Seward, James, MD ACOEM Task Force on Nanotechnology, Nanotechnology and Health [Abstract - The full article can be downloaded free from this page]. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Source: OHS Alert. Read more about Nanotechnology
Farm Safety Reports
A new farm safety report card compiled by Sydney University shows there were 68 farm deaths reported by the Australian media in 2017, a rise from the 63 in 2016.
The research, by the university's Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety, showed tractors (13) and quad bikes (11) were the leading causes of death, making up more than 40 per cent of the total. Tragically, nine of the fatal cases (13 per cent) involved children aged under 15 years, with quad bikes involved in a third of these incidents. Download a copy of the report [pdf]. The report [pdf] for the period January - June 2018, shows a further increase - there were 49 fatalities compared to 45 in the same period the previous year.