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Nanotoxicology. 2013 May;7(3):338-45. doi: 10.3109/17435390.2012.658095. Epub 2012 Mar 22.

Evaluation of information in nanomaterial safety data sheets and development of international standard for guidance on preparation of nanomaterial safety data sheets.

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  • 1Institute of Nanoproduct Safety Research, Hoseo University, Asan, Korea.


Safety data sheets (SDSs) and labelling are the basic hazard communication tools for hazardous chemicals as regards their manufacture, storage, transport and other handling activities. Thus, in the context of the growing use of nanomaterials and nanomaterial-containing materials, this study evaluated the information provided in 97 nanomaterial-related SDSs according to the criteria set by the GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals) and found that most of the SDSs did not include sufficient information on the safety of nanomaterials, such as their toxicity and physicochemical properties. The reasons for this lack of information in the nanomaterial SDSs can mainly be attributed to (1) a lack of toxicity and physicochemical property information on nanomaterials, (2) unawareness of the effectiveness of conventional exposure controls, such as local exhaust ventilation and encapsulation, and personal protective equipment (PPE), in protecting against nanomaterial exposure, (3) a lack of information on emergency and firefighting measures and (4) a lack of knowledge on how existing regulations apply to nanomaterials. Therefore, to create a consistent standard for the information provided on safety, health and environmental matters for manufactured nanomaterial-containing products, guidance for the preparation of nanomaterial-specific SDSs, including both nanomaterials and mixtures of nanomaterials with conventional non-nanoscale materials, was recently initiated by the ISO TC 229. Their guidance, in the form of a technical report, recommends that nanomaterial-related SDSs should be prepared based on a precautionary approach in terms of the toxicity and other risks associated with the nanomaterial contents within the mixture in question. One of the key recommendations in the technical report is to include additional physicochemical properties, including the particle size (average and range), size distribution aggregation/agglomeration state, shape and aspect ratio, crystallinity, specific surface area, dispersibility and dustiness, which help to distinguish the characteristics of nanomaterials from those of non-nanoscale materials. The technical report also recommends the preparation of SDSs for all nanomaterials and mixtures that meet the GHS criteria for physical, health or environmental hazards, and for all mixtures containing nanomaterials that meet the criteria for carcinogenic, toxic to reproduction or specific target organ toxicity in concentrations exceeding the cut-off limits for an SDS specified by the criteria for mixtures. Finally, the technical report recommends that SDSs be prepared for all nanomaterials, unless there is evidence that they are not hazardous.

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