WHO document Dec 2017

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently published an international guideline to protect workers against potential occupational health risks from manufactured nanomaterials. The guideline, which is addressed to governments and experts in the more than 180 member states of the WHO, contains recommendations for the assessment of risks and suitable occupational safety measures when handling manufactured nanomaterials. Expert guidance from the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) was included in the guideline.


With the publication of the guideline"WHO guidelines on protecting workers from potential risks of manufactured nanomaterials" the World Health Organization broke new ground in the international regulation of hazardous substances in the workplace. Based on systematic evaluations of the scientific literature, the guideline was modelled on evidence-based medicine.


With the help of nanotechnology, the properties of chemical materials can be very effectively influenced and shaped today. This opens up great innovation potential, for example for light and energy-efficient products. However, nanomaterials are also a challenge for occupational safety because in addition to the chemical composition, the specific material design can be associated with health hazards. In the workplace, inhaled dusts and fibres can lead to long-term chronic respiratory diseases if they accumulate in the lungs due to their poor solubility. Special attention must be paid to some fibre materials whose dust contains rigid fibres that are similar to asbestos.



Original Publication

World Health organisation (2017). WHO guidelines on protecting workers from potential risks of manufactured nanomaterials. ISBN 978-92-4-155004-8, (PDF, 587 KB)




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