Nanoparticles: what they are and why they are so dangerous
Nanoparticles are one of the main emerging industrial risks.
Nanoparticles are generally identified as particles made of atomic or molecular aggregates with a diameter of approximately 1 to 100 nm. Sometimes the term is used to denote ultrafine particles (in particular the individual particles that make up nanopowders).
The use of nanoparticles in consumer goods is showing benefits and attracting
investment, but it is also raising concerns because, under certain conditions, exposure
to nanoparticles, being too small for our body's natural defences, can have negative effects on our health and on the environment.
Understanding how to assess these and, above all, how to take appropriate protective measures, has become of main importance here in BLS.
The EPI4Nano project
The EPI4Nano project, promoted by BLS and carried out over the two-years period 2021/2022 by the Itene Research Institute, based in Valencia (ES), had its
main purpose in the development, optimisation and validation of specific BLS
products for effective respiratory protection against nanoparticles, including carbon
nanofibres and metal oxides.
Studies have shown that some nanoparticles can penetrate cells and tissues, move through the body and brain, and cause biochemical damage. In particular, the small size of nanopowders allows them to behave in a way that can be described as intermediate between that of gases and the rest of suspended particulate matter.
For this reason, when one comes into contact with these materials or performs work that may cause their dispersion into the air, the use of appropriate respiratory protective equipment is essential.
Itene's study showed that the filtering materials of selected BLS devices filter over 99% of these nanoparticles.
BLS products certified for protection against nanoparticles include:
- BLS Zer0 series filtering facepieces
- BLS 8400next and BLS 8600next half masks
- BLS 401 P3 Universal filter
- BLS 202 P3 B-Lock filters