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The basis for the evaluation was “Stoffenmanager Nano” application [1,2] a risk-banding tool developed for employers and employ­ees to prioritise health risks occurring as a result of respiratory exposure to nanoparticles for a broad range of worker scenarios.

The respiratory route is the main route of exposure for many occupational scenarios, while the oral route of exposure is considered minor and sufficiently covered, from a safety point of view, by good hygiene practices established in production facilities as prescribed through general welfare provisions in national health and safety legislation in EU countries [3]. In view of the nature of the products in this sector, oral exposure of consumers is also considered to be minor.

The dermal route may be the main route of exposure for some substances or exposure situations, and cause local effects on the skin or systemic effects after absorption into the body [4]. However, nanoparticles as such are very unlikely to penetrate the skin [5] and consequently nano-specific systemic toxicity via the dermal route is improbable. Therefore, when evaluating risks from nanotechnology for the respiratory route, the most important aspects of occupational and consumer safety are covered.

Safety aspects for copper oxide, graphene, MWCNTs and nickel monoxide were identified as being particularly important in production and use for energy applications, indicating the need to apply exposure control methods or to assess the risks more precisely. Gold is slightly lower priority (except in solar energy production where it is high priority) while zirconium dioxide showed the lowest priority profiles of the materials considered, being in the lowest hazard band and at the lower end of the exposure band (except for solar energy applications). No risk estimates were identified for the sub-sectors “Hydrogen” and “Others” due to lack of data.

1 Marquart, H., Heussen, H., Le Feber, M., Noy, D., Tielemans, E., Schinkel, J., West, J., Van Der Schaaf, D., 2008. 'Stoffenmanager', a web-based control banding tool using an exposure process model. Ann. Occup. Hyg. 52, 429-441.

2 Van Duuren-Stuurman, B., Vink, S., Verbist, K.J.M., Heussen, H.G.A., Brouwer, D., Kroese, D.E.D., Van Niftrik, M.F.J., Tielemans, E., Fransman, W., 2012. Stoffenmanager Nano version 1.0: a web-based tool for risk prioritization of airborne manufactured nano objects. Ann. Occup. Hyg. 56, 525-541.

3 ECHA, 2012. Chapter R.14: Occupational exposure estimation in: Anonymous Guidance on Information Requirements and Chemical Safety Assessment., Version: 2.1 ed. European Chemicals Agency, Helsinki, Finland.

4 Ibid

5 Watkinson, A.C., Bunge, A.L., Hadgraft, J., Lane, M.E., 2013. Nanoparticles do not penetrate human skin - A theoretical perspective. Pharm. Res. 30, 1943-1946

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