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Canadian OHS Agency investigates Nano-related Safety Aspects in Industrial Manufacturing Processes

Quebec’s IRSST (Institut de recherché Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail) has, with the aid of NanoQuebec, published a paper called Measuring, Controlling and Characterizing Nanoparticles – Procedure Applied to Machining and Mechanical Friction (Mesure, contrôle et caractérisation des nanoparticules - Procédure appliquée à l’usinage et au frottement mécanique). The authors state that it reveals ‘the presence of ultrafine particles in machining operations for shaping ordinary materials not containing nanoparticles’, and that ‘emission of these particles depends on the processes employed’.

Key points from the paper include:

  • Demonstration ‘that the machining of ordinary alloys, those not considered nanomaterials, emits more nanoparticles than particles of micrometric dimensions, and that most of these are smaller than 20 nanometres’
  • Determining that ‘milling is the operation that emits the most nanoparticles’, and a subsequent classification of common machining and dry friction operations
  • Deducing ‘the conditions surrounding the generation of nanoparticles during the friction and machining of aluminium alloy components, as well as the concentrations and aerodymanic diameter distributions of these particles’
  • Development of strategies for reduction at the source of emissions during manufacturing processes

According to the authors, the study was carried out as other studies suggested that the nanoparticles that are generated ‘could have negative effects, particularly on health and the environment’. They felt that ‘these may be generated during the manufacture, handling and assembly of ordinary metal compounds’.


Follow this link to read the paper (in French), and this to read an English language summary.

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