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Meridian Institute

Nanotechnology Spells Danger For Firefighters

Summary posted by Meridian on 4/27/2012

Source: Firehouse (24 April 2012)

Author(s): Ed Ballam

The proliferation of nanotechnology in consumer products is making the microscopic materials that become airborne during fires even more deadly than realized, according to this article. Firefighters and responders have known for decades the dangers of smoke to their health, but the increasing use of nanotechnology is adding a different dimension to the danger. Captain Peter McBride of the Ottawa Fire Services, Canada, is a safety officer in his department. He first became concerned about nanotechnologies when a huge sporting goods store burned, emitting black, acrid smoke due to the thousands of skis and other sporting goods that burned and released microscopic particles. “It’s not all black and white being a safety officer,” he said. “There’s a lot of gray... I am OK with unsafe, but I am not OK with dangerous.” And he found that when material with nanotechnology burns, it emits dangerous particulates. He has changed the safety precautions for his firefighters in an effort to mitigate the transfer of cancer-causing materials to personal property or to the families of firefighters. “I am not against nanotechnologies,” McBride said. “I am against us not doing anything to protect ourselves from the known dangers.”

The original article may still be available at http://www.firehouse.com/news/10705138/nanotechnology-spells-danger-for-firefighters

As tagged by Meridian Institute:

Stakeholders: GovernmentPrivate Sector

Implications: Worker SafetyHuman Health RisksGovernance

Regions: North America

Nanomaterial Category: Carbon NanoparticleMetal Nanoparticle

Materials and Manufacturing: ManufacturingMaterials

Minerals and Metals: Metals

Nanotechnology and Development News

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