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LIFE nanoRISK - Best practices effectiveness, prevention and protection measures for control of risk posed by engineered nanomaterials

LIFE12 ENV/ES/000178


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Contact details:

Contact person: Carmen Sánchez Reig
Tel: 34961820081
Fax: 34961820081
Email: itneur@itene.com



Project description:

Background

The development of nanomaterials - defined as having at least one dimension of 100 nanometres or less – is a particularly exciting area of science and industry, which is expected to yield numerous technological advances. More than 300 European businesses are now involved in the production of substances at nano scale and overall output is soon expected to reach ten million tonnes, with a market value of over EUR 450 billion.

However, the unique properties of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) also create potential health risks. Nanoparticles are released into the environment both intentionally and unintentionally throughout the life-cycle of ENMs’ production, use and disposal. This creates suspected risks of bioaccumulation in soil and water or excessive absorption through the skin. There is already increasing evidence of eco-toxicological effects on key species and communities, including the inhibition of seed germination and root growth, and oxidative stress in algae.

The EU REACH Regulation requires manufacturers and importers to demonstrate that they have appropriately identified and assessed all the associated risks of any chemical substance manufactured or imported in quantities of one tonne or more per year per company. However, there is currently a lack of information on toxicological and eco-toxicological properties, dosimetry parameters or even standardised risk assessment methods for nanomaterials.


Objectives

The objective of the LIFE nanoRISK project was to minimise environmental, health and safety (EHS) risks from exposure to engineered nanomaterials (ENMs). The aim was to improve our understanding of the risks associated with their release into the environment by the polymer nanocomposite industry, and identify prevention and protection measures. The project aimed to collate new information on release rates of ENMs to air, water, wastewater and oil during their production, use and disposal, to produce exposure scenarios covering the nanocomposites’ life cycle. A key aim was to identify and test Risk Management Measures (RMMs) for controlling exposure to ENMs at the pilot scale. The project’s findings will help to strengthen the Library of RMM developed within the REACH Implementation Projects and improve the quality of Chemical Safety Assessments for nanomaterials. LIFE nanoRISK will thus implement the European REACH Regulation with regard to nanomaterials, and reduce risks from overexposure to nanoparticles.


Results

The LIFE nanoRISK project demonstrated the effectiveness of workplace controls to prevent or minimise exposure to engineered nanomaterials (ENMs), during specific workplace situations in the polymer nanocomposite industry. Recommended Risk Management Measures (RMMs) were implemented and evaluated in five case studies that covered the whole life cycle of relevant ENMs. This provided valuable data for determining whether RMMs are suitable for particular exposure scenarios, so making a positive contribution to the REACH Regulation and its RMM library. LIFE nanoRISK provided industry with science-based tools and data to guarantee a safe working environment, and made a direct contribution to decreasing the exposure of employees and the environment to potentially dangerous substances. The project team designed a testing chamber prototype to support the evaluation of the effectiveness of RMMs against ENMs under controlled conditions, thus providing industry with a tool to simulate operative conditions involving the use of ENMs. Ten standardised protocols were used to evaluate the effectiveness of ventilation systems and personal protective equipment against particles and aerosols below 100 nm. This resulted in reliable data on the performance of RMMs and information on how to improve equipment, such as protective goggles, gloves and suits. To manage the data generated, the project used an innovative Microsoft Excel®-based RMMs library containing information of the effectiveness against target ENMs and critical operative conditions. From their results, the project team produced multimedia guidance to assist companies in their selection of recommended measures to control the exposure in workplaces and reduce release of ENMs to the environment, along with webinars and workshops to support the training of workers implementing the RMMs. They also produced a complete assessment report of current ISO and ASTM standards for protective equipment testing. The project’s results are helping to establish the first protocols for working with ENMs in the polymer nanocomposite industry. The project team generated new information on the release rates of nanomaterials into air, surface freshwater, marine water, wastewater and soil, for each relevant stage of ENM life cycles. In addition, they generated useful new knowledge and data on the airborne behaviour of the target nanomaterials, including aggregation/agglomeration patterns and deposition factors under specific conditions of use in nanocomposite production facilities. Among the actions to disseminate their findings, the project established a network platform to close knowledge gaps about nanomaterials health and environmental impacts, in collaboration with scientific committees. In terms of direct environmental benefits, the project team estimated that there was an overall reduction of 5% in unintentional emissions of ENMs to the air, water and/or soil from the production processes, considering both experimental data on the efficiency of the risk management measures and results of the pilot implementation studies. This equates to reduced risks of damage to the environment, and lower spending to remediate or compensate the environmental damage. Important socio-economic benefits arising from the project include improved safety of workers and consumers dealing with ENMs; better business opportunities due to increased consumer acceptance of nanotechnology; and increased job creation potential (up to 6 persons per company, meaning 10 080 new jobs at EU level). Notably, the project directly contributes to decreased occupational exposure to dangerous substances (30% estimated effectiveness in the long term) and increased transparency on hazard and exposure related data, promoting the concepts of responsible care, sustainability and green economies. The project explored both legal and policy issues, alongside scientific and technical issues. The scientific knowledge gained led to practical steps to reduce exposure to ENMs and, at the same time, helped support the establishment of new legal requirements. One important milestone in this regard is the input of data to support relevant EU policies such as the REACH Regulation and workers' protection legislation. It also represents added-value for International Standardisation, by developing methods for testing RMMs against nanomaterials, evaluating the adequacy of the published harmonised standards from ISO, CEN, BSI and ASTM, and adapting them to specific nanomaterial properties. As regards the transferability of the project, its beneficiaries are members of several European and American working groups, to which the project has already been presented. Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).


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Environmental issues addressed:

Themes

Risk management - Human health protection
Risk management - Industrial risks - Hazardous substances


Keywords

public health‚  research project‚  working condition‚  risk assessment


Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable


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Beneficiaries:

Coordinator INSTITUTO TECNOLOGICO DEL EMBALAJE, TRANSPORTE Y LOGÍSTICA (ITENE)
Type of organisation Research institution
Description ITENE is a private, non-profit R&D institute specialising in packaging, transport and logistics. Its safety division, which is leading this project, has specific expertise in chemical safety assessment and management, notably of risks associated with nanoparticles.
Partners Avanzare Innovación Tecnologica S.L., Spain Centro Ricerche Plast-Optica S.P.A., Italy Instituto de Trabajo, Ambiente y Salud, Spain Vlaamse Instelling Voor Technologisch Onderzoek N.V., Belgium

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Project reference LIFE12 ENV/ES/000178
Duration 01-OCT-2013 to 30-SEP -2016
Total budget 1,165,973.00 €
EU contribution 582,893.00 €
Project location Rioja(España) Madrid(España) Cataluña(España) Comunidad Valenciana(España)

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Read more:

Leaflet "NanoRISK" (476 KB)
Leaflet "Jornada de Nanotecnología y prevención de riesgos ...
Leaflet "NANORISK" (537 KB)
Leaflet "Best practices effectiveness, prevention and prot ...
Leaflet "NanoRISK: Best practices effectiveness, preventio ...
Leaflet "NanoRISK: Efectividad de la aplicación de buenas ...
Leaflet "Best practices effectiveness, prevention and prot ...
Leaflet "NanoRISK: Best practices effectiveness, preventio ...
Leaflet "Best practices effectiveness, prevention and prot ...
Leaflet "NanoRISK [Project's leaflet]" (417 KB)
Leaflet "NanoRISK [Project's leaflet]" (476 KB)
Newsletter "NanoRISK Newsletter: Best practices effectiveness ...
Newsletter "NanoRISK Newsletter: Best practices effectiveness ...
Poster "NanoRISK: Best practices, effectiveness, preventi ...
Poster "Best practices effectiveness, prevention and prot ...
Poster "Testing the appropriateness of N95 halfmask respi ...
Project web site Project's website
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Guidance on recommended measures for mitigating t ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Guía orientativa sobre los controles recomendados ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Layman report Title: Layman report
Publication: Layman report Layman report (Spanish version)
Publication: Technical report "Best practices effectiveness, prevention and prot ...
Publication: Technical report "Best practices effectiveness, prevention and prot ...
Publication: Technical report "Best practices effectiveness, prevention and prot ...
Publication: Technical report "Best practices effectiveness, prevention and prot ...
Publication: Technical report "Final Report: Covering the project activities fro ...
Publication: Technical report "Best practices effectiveness, prevention and prot ...
Slides Presentation "Taller: Aplicación práctica de medidas de protecc ...
Slides Presentation "Eficacia de Medios de Protección Dérmica Guantes ...
Slides Presentation "Overall view of the progress so far according wit ...
Slides Presentation "Evaluación de la efectividad de medios de protecc ...
Slides Presentation "Características y aplicaciones de los nanomateria ...
Slides Presentation "Presentación de la Biblioteca De Medidas De Contr ...
Slides Presentation "Jornada de presentación de resultados del proyect ...
Slides Presentation "Lecciones aprendidas en la evaluación de la expos ...
Slides Presentation "Best practices in NMs Risk Assessment: Demonstrat ...
Slides Presentation "Nanotecnología: El Riesgo de la Manipulación de n ...
Slides Presentation "Nanotecnología y efectos adversos en la salud: Na ...
Slides Presentation "Taller: Aplicación práctica de medidas de protecc ...
Slides Presentation "Effectiveness of Engineering controls (LEVs)" (1. ...
Slides Presentation "Eficacia de Medios de Protección Respiratoria: Na ...
Slides Presentation "Evaluación de la efectividad de medios de protecc ...
Slides Presentation "Taller: Aplicación prática de medidas de protecci ...
Slides Presentation "Iniciativas para el estudio de los riesgos de la ...

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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version