CAUT’s health and safety officer, Laura Lozanski, has been included in a new group being set up to develop safety standards for nanomaterials.
The Canadian Labour Congress has appointed Lozanski as one of three labour representatives on the Canadian Standards Association panel that is producing a new standard on nanotechnology, specifically for engineered nanomaterials.
The science is already finding its way into everything from fibre optics, fuel additives and food packaging to tires, textiles and tennis rackets.
“As the use of nanomaterials increases worldwide, concerns for worker and user safety are mounting,” Lozanski said. “Nanoparticles are now known to produce harmful health effects, but the long-term consequences are unknown.”
Similarities between nanoparticles and asbestos have been noted, as material at the nanometer scale can be absorbed through the skin, lungs, or digestive tract.
Lozanski points out that prevention protocols are essential to reduce and eliminate exposure during development and production of nanomaterials, as well as consumer exposure during consumption or use of products either made using nanotechnologies or containing nanomaterials.