Control Banding

Work with potentially hazardous materials. Photo courtesy of Prof. Hofmann, EPFL
Work with potentially hazardous materials. Photo courtesy of Prof. Hofmann, EPFL

A so-called "Control Banding Approach" (grading of the protective measures depending on the potential danger of the material used) is often used to ensure that the right protective measures are applied when handling nanomaterials. Analogous approaches are used in the classification of protective measures in the handling of chemicals or biological risks. Usually, a differentiation is made between high, medium and low risks. Classification depends on the properties of the material used, the quantities used and the expected release of the material.

  • The category (potential) "high risk" includes so-called PBT substances (persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic), and substances that are easily absorbed. An example are long, rigid multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT). On the basis of the precautionary principle, materials whose toxicology is not well-known are also assigned to the highest hazard level. The riskiest applications include working with powders and spraying applications. Also, daily, long-lasting exposures or the absence or exceeding of limit values lead to a classification under "high risk".
  • Medium risks include insoluble, phagocytable nanomaterials without substance-specific toxicity or soluble nanomaterials with harmful properties, if they are not released in large quantities. A splash of liquid or abrasion of granules can also be considered a medium risk.
  • A low risk is assumed when the nanomaterials used are not endangering health, are firmly embedded in a matrix, are clearly below the limit values or the exposure can be excluded. Technical measures (s. the STOP principle ) can reduce the risk of all the applications to a low level, as they can avoid the exposition to nanomaterials.
Work with nanomaterials in a laboratory with the highest security level. © 2014 – The Innovation Society Ltd.