May 13 — A U.S. worker suffered adverse health effects after handling nickel nanoparticles, according to a published case study that appears to be the first of its kind.
A chemist developed throat congestion with postnasal drip, flushing of the face and skin sensitivity to metals within a week of exposure to nickel nanoparticles, according to a case study published May 8 in the online version of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.
Exposure consisted of periodically weighing out 1 to 2 grams of nickel nanoparticles without using protective measures. The chemist eventually moved to another lab that had no metal chemistry work, and her symptoms improved, the study said.
Despite animal and cell research indicating that exposure to some nanomaterials might cause adverse health effects, there's a dearth of reports on exposed workers getting sick. Available research has supported the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's recommended exposure limit for carbon nanotubes and nanofibers and the International Agency for Research on Cancer's designation of nano-sized titanium dioxide as a possible human carcinogen.
Although individual case studies linking worker exposure and adverse health effects are valuable because they alert researchers to potential problems, they should be treated with caution in terms of drawing causal relationships, said Andrew Maynard, professor and director of the University of Michigan's Risk Science Center.
“They give the ability to start asking questions, but really don't answer any,” Maynard told Bloomberg BNA May 13.
A 2009 case study of seven workers in China whose adverse health effects were blamed on nanoparticle exposure has been widely cited, but any causal link in it is “pretty much entirely speculative,” Maynard said.
The case study of the U.S. chemist's exposure to nickel nanoparticles underscores the need to use protective measures in the absence of conclusive toxicity data, lead study author W. Shane Journeay told Bloomberg BNA May 13.
“This is a modest example, but it shows that in the modern workplace in the United States it can and did happen,” said Journeay, who heads Nanotechnology Toxicology Consulting & Training. “It's really just the tip of the iceberg.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Iafolla in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jim Stimson at email@example.com
The case study is available for purchase at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajim.22344/abstract.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)