Monday, June 13, 2011

To Enforce Government Regulations Research Focuses on Health Hazards due to Nanomaterials

Occupational health and safety professional of the Southeastern Louisiana University is citing the gap in knowledge for state agencies to regulate the use of nanomaterials. Precautionary measures must be taken to deal with safety and health issues that arise owing to usage of nanomaterials of dimensions smaller than the width of a human hair.

The Assistant professor of occupational safety, health, and surroundings of southeastern Louisiana University, Ephraim Massawe, is inquiring in to the information and technical requirements of the country's state agencies and programs. They has started analyzing the nano-enhanced technologies and work practices implemented at several superfund sites of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Louisiana Board of Regents is supportive of the research work by providing grants at a value of very $110,000 for a three-year period.

Engineered nanoparticles have been used in several commercial and non commercial applications such as in medicine, manufacturing, and environmental remediation.

Massawe said that the manner in which nanomaterials may react with the environment and the human body is yet to be discovered. They said that animal studies recommend that definite nanomaterials may contribute to pregnancy complications and lung diseases. A complete survey will be conducted on state agencies and programs to set up the scientific information and technical requirements for regulatory and oversight purposes. The information collected will help state agencies and programs to manage the environmental and occupational exposures to nanomaterials.

The nanotechnology field is in its preliminary stages, Massawe said, and enforcement and regulations concerning the manufacture, disposal, and use of nanomaterials are in their evolution stage. They said that nanomaterials are currently used to eliminate harmful wastes such as organic contaminants. They is also studying the treatment process of dangerous wastes, the nature of nanomaterials used in treatment, the practices used to handle them and the sources of potential emission. They conducted this study along with specialists from the EPA, the national institute for occupational safety and health and the United Nations.

Massawe will study closely the use of definite engineered nanoparticles, such as titanium dioxide and their usage in tidy up activities at EPA Superfund sites. They said it is important to know how they are being handled in these sites and whether they may contaminate the air and pose as a health hazard to the nearby community. It is also feasible that they may enter water systems and turn out to be a threat for public health.

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