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Continuing to Protect the Nanotechnology Workforce: NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Plan for 2018 - 2025

January 2019
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2019-116
Cover page 2019-116

Nanotechnology and the commercialization of products and devices containing engineered nanomaterials could help address critical global problems concerning energy, transportation, pollution, health, and food. The potential benefits of nanotechnology are immense. However, scientists must also address concerns about the potential adverse human health effects of this technology. Timely, targeted research must further define the hazards, exposures, and risks and provide guidance for the safe handling of nanomaterials. A concerted effort by industry, academia, labor, environmental health and safety professionals, and government can fill the knowledge gaps in an accessible process that coincides with development of this new technology. NIOSH is playing an active part in this process by supporting the development of a broad spectrum of research and prevention strategies for health and safety hazards related to nanotechnology. In a series of reports [NIOSH 2007, 2010, 2012a], NIOSH has summarized its progress in conducting nanotechnology research and recommending risk management strategies (see NIOSH investigators have identified adverse health effects in animals exposed to various engineered nanomaterials; assessed worker exposures; initiated epidemiologic research; and provided guidance on occupational exposure limits (OELs), control technologies, and medical surveillance. Yet, there are still many questions. Advanced synthesis techniques yield nanomaterials with a practically limitless combination of physicochemical traits, each of which could have unique toxicology and exposure risks. There is need for an expeditious approach for controlling exposure to the continuously growing number of nanomaterials used both in science and in commerce. Moreover, the advanced nanomaterials under development may have additional potentially hazardous characteristics that will need addressing in the near future [Murashov et al. 2012].

NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Plan for 2018 – 2025 pdf icon[PDF – 870 KB]

Suggested Citation

NIOSH [2019]. Continuing to protect the nanotechnology workforce: NIOSH nanotechnology research plan for 2018–2025. By Hodson L, Geraci C, Schulte P. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 2019-116, icon

Page last reviewed: January 23, 2019