Medical surveillance, exposure registries, and epidemiologic research for workers exposed to nanomaterials.
Toxicology 2010 Mar; 269(2-3):128-135
While there is a growing body of information about hazards of nanomaterials, little is known about the risks to workers exposed to them. However, workers are the first people in society that are being exposed to the growing inventory of "nano-enabled" products in commerce. The number of workers involved in the investigation, manufacture, production, and disposal of these types of products is growing. Although toxicologic research is still the highest priority, it is time to actively anticipate the health needs of workers. To date, precautionary risk management approaches have been widely advocated. Now there is a need to initiate an evolving process to identify the issues in medical surveillance, utilization of exposure registries, and the conduct of epidemiologic research. Each of these are related complex endeavors that build on the toxicologic evidence and extent of exposure. There is a need to assess the scientific basis and research needs for determining early functional changes, organ system and disease responses for use in targeted medical surveillance. There is also need for development of criteria for extrapolating toxicological data in biological systems to predict the risk of adverse outcomes in humans. In the meantime, exposure registries may be pivotal in helping societies act in the face of uncertainty in a precautionary manner, but legal, ethical, and logistical issues need resolution. Epidemiologic research will build on these efforts and may ultimately contribute critical definitive rationale for medical screening, risk assessment and management.
Nanotechnology; Environmental-exposure; Environmental-health; Epidemiology; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-methods; Health-care-personnel; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-health; Particulate-dust; Particulates; Racial-factors; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Surveillance-programs; Toxic-effects; Toxicology; Work-environment; Worker-health; Work-operations; Workplace-studies;
Author Keywords: Nanotechnology; Surveillance; Epidemiology; Carbon nanotubes; Fibrosis;
Paul A. Schulte, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4676 Columbia Parkway, MS C-14, Cincinnati, OH 45226