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Protecting workers and persons living next to sites where titanium dioxide nanoparticles are produced or processed

Nanoparticles of titanium dioxyde de (TiO2 NPs) are very much used in the food industry, in cosmetics, building material ... They are produced or processed in several sites in France, raising the question of exposure of workers and neighbours. Ultrafine powders of TiO2 NPs may contaminate workplace and ambiant air, which requires specific protection measures, especially since recent studies have shown that these nanoparticles, when inhaled or absorbed, cross biological barriers and accumulate in certain organs. Yet, health risks remain uncertain. These findings lead the ministries of health, of labor and of ecological and inclusive transition to send a request to the High council of public health on management provisions to be taken in view to protect workers and neighbours. The HCSP recommends:

  • Protection and medical monitoring of workers handling nanomaterials, in particular pregnant women and women of childbearing age
  • Application of workplace good prevention practices concerning the production, handling storage, conditioning, transportation and integration of TiO2 NPs in end-product, as well as for end of life process.
  • Protection of residents around industrials sites (TiO2 NPs production and handling)
  • Development of measurement and monitoring of occupational and environment exposures
  • Elaboration of occupational and environmental exposure limit values for TiO2 NPs
  • Extension of the mandatory declaration in the the R-Nano database to all products containing nanoscale substances with a minimum number of 10% as NPs, and accessibility of this database for all agencies that assess risks of nanomaterial;
  • That manufacturers and importers of TiO2 NPs include studies on their reprotoxic potency to document their dossier in the framework of the REACH procedure;
  • Strengthening of prevention agencies (INRS, Santé publique France, INERIS, ANSES) regarding their expertise on NPs.
  • Supporting research on mutagenesis, carcinogenesis and reprotoxicity of TiO2 NPs.
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