Protecting the Nanotechnology Workforce

Nanotechnology - the manipulation of matter on a near-atomic scale to produce
new materials and devices - has the ability to transform many industries, from
medicine to manufacturing, and the products they produce. By 2020, the National
Science Foundation estimates, nanotechnology will have a $3 trillion impact on
the global economy and employ 6 million workers in the manufacture of
nanomaterial-based products. Nanomaterials may present new challenges to
understanding, predicting, and managing potential health risks to workers.

Nanotechnology provides many opportunities for advancing the economic value as
it expands into every industrial sector. Today, nanomaterials are found in
hundreds of products, ranging from cosmetics, to clothing, to industrial and
biomedical applications. The potential benefits of nanotechnology are huge, and
these benefits should be realized by society. However, there is ongoing concern
that the full potential of the societal benefits may not be realized if
research efforts are not undertaken to determine how to best manage and control
the potential occupational safety and health hazards associated with the
handling of these nanomaterials.

Many knowledge gaps still remain on how to work safely with all of these
materials. Through strategic planning, research, partnering with stakeholders,
and making information widely available, the US-American National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is working to continue to provide
national and world leadership in providing solutions that will prevent
work-related illness and injury.

More information - Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health