Vireo Advisors, LLC,
Keywords: nanocellulose, manufacturing, inhalation, detection, occupational safety, standard method
Summary:This talk will present a collaboration formed to develop methods for assessing workplace exposure to nanocellulose, to allow commercial entities to ensure they are addressing worker exposure while manufacturing nanocellulose and downstream products. Significant efforts are underway to develop nanocellulose materials with a wide range of applications including paper and packaging, coatings, absorbents, viscosity modifiers, and a diversity of composite materials. However, conventional forms of cellulose are known irritants when inhaled by workers. While the data are thin regarding health effects associated with exposure to the nano-forms of cellulose, we do know that, for a given mass concentration exposure to many other materials, adverse health effects can be greater when the material occurs as nanoparticles rather than larger ones because of the increased surface area and ability to penetrate deeper into the lung. To adequately assess and manage risk in this nascent industry, we need validated methods to detect whether, and to what extent, nanocellulose exposures may occur in the workplace. Such methods are not available because the novel detection methods that have emerged for quantitative analysis of other nanoscale materials are not suited for nanocellulose, which occurs as small organic particles with high aspect ratio (length / diameter) and at low concentrations. This presentation will discuss the process of developing the methods, present current data, and describe how the work will be developed into a standard measurement method.