09/15/2006

NIOSH publishes revised Nanotechnology page

The US-American Institute of Occuaptional Safety and Health (NIOOSH) has
revised its Nanotechnology webpage.

NIOSH is the leading federal agency in the USA conducting research and
providing guidance on the occupational safety and health implications and
applications of nanotechnology. This research focuses NIOSH's scientific
expertise, and its efforts, on answering the questions that are essential to
understanding these implications and applications:


  • How might workers be exposed to nano-sized particles in the manufacturing or
    industrial use of nanomaterials?
  • How do nanoparticles interact with the body's systems?
  • What effects might nanoparticles have on the body's systems?

As part of this effort, NIOSH is conducting strategic planning and research,
partnering with public and private-sector colleagues from the United States and
abroad, and making the information and interim recommendations widely
available. As observers generally agree, research to answer these questions is
critical for maintaining U.S. competitiveness in the growing and dynamic
nanotechnology market.

NIOSH has identified 10 critical topic areas to guide in addressing knowledge
gaps, developing strategies, and providing recommendations:

Toxicity


  • Investigating and determining the physical and chemical properties (ex: size,
    shape, solubility) that influence the potential toxicity of nanoparticles
  • Evaluating short and long-term effects that nanomaterials may have in organ
    systems and tissues (ex: lungs)
  • Determining biological mechanisms for potential toxic effects
  • Creating and integrating models to assist in assessing possible hazards
  • Determining if a measure other than mass is more appropriate for determining
    toxicity

Risk Assessment


  • Determining the likelihood that current exposure-response data (human or
    animal) could be used in identifying and assessing potential occupational
    hazards
  • Developing a framework for evaluating potential hazards and predicting
    potential occupational risk of exposure to nanomaterials.

Epidemiology & Surveillance


  • Evaluating existing epidemiological workplace studies where nanomaterials are
    used
  • Identifying knowledge gaps where epidemiological studies could advance
    understanding of nanomaterials and evaluating the likelihood of conducting new
    studies
  • Integrating nanotechnology health and safety issues into existing hazard
    surveillance methods and determining whether additional screening methods are
    needed
  • Using existing systems to share data and information about nanotechnology

Controls


  • Evaluating the effectiveness of engineering controls in reducing occupational
    exposures to nanoaerosols and developing new controls where needed
  • Evaluating and improving current personal protective equipment
  • Developing recommendations to prevent or limit occupational exposures (ex:
    respirator fit testing)
  • Evaluating suitability of control banding techniques where additional
    information is needed; and evaluating the effectiveness of alternative
    materials

Measurement Methods


  • Evaluating methods of measuring mass of respirable particles in the air and
    determining if this measurement can be used to measure nanomaterials
  • Developing and field-testing practical methods to accurately measure airborne
    nanomaterials in the workplace
  • Developing testing and evaluation systems to compare and validate sampling
    instruments

Exposure & Dose


  • Determining key factors that influence the production, dispersion,
    accumulation, and re-entry of nanomaterials into the workplace
  • Assessing possible exposure when nanomaterials are inhaled or settle on the
    skin
  • Determining how possible exposures differ by work process
  • Determining what happens to nanomaterials once they enter the body

Safety


  • Identifying current work practices that do not provide adequate precautions
    against exposures
  • Recommending alternative work practices to eliminate or reduce workplace
    exposures.

Recommendations & Guidance


  • Using the best available science to make interim recommendations for
    workplace safety and health practices during the production and use of
    nanomaterials
  • Evaluating and updating occupational exposure limits for mass-based airborne
    particles to ensure good continuing precautionary practices

Communication & Education


  • Establishing partnerships to allow for identification and sharing of research
    needs, approaches, and results
  • Developing and disseminating training and educational materials to workers
    and health and safety professionals

Applications


  • Identifying uses of nanotechnology for application in occupational safety and
    health
  • Evaluating and disseminating effective applications to workers and
    occupational safety and health professionals

More info


AplusA-online.de - Source: National Institute of Occuaptional Safety and Health