This document is the very first Québec guide on the risks related to synthetic nanoparticles. Prepared jointly by the IRSST, CSST and NanoQuébec, this best practices guide proposes a prevention strategy applicable to workers and researchers using, manufacturing or synthesizing nanoparticles.
The guide’s authors note that knowledge about the health and safety risks specific to nanoparticles is still limited. Among other things, the toxic effects related to the capacity of these particles to cross biological barriers, to distribute in the body, and to accumulate in certain organs and inside cells are only partially documented. While nanoparticles can be more toxic than larger particles of the same chemical substance, current knowledge nevertheless allows these risks to be managed, even at unknown levels of toxicity and exposure. This guide is intended for companies, researchers and preventionists involved with nanotechnologies, and describes the current state of knowledge as well as offers recommendations for promoting risk factor management and control for the purpose of occupational injury prevention. The guide identifies health, safety and environmental hazards; proposes a procedure for risk evaluation and control; documents current practices worldwide; and specifies the content of a company prevention program.