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Risk assessment and risk management of nanomaterials in the workplace: translating research to practice.
Kuempel-ED; Geraci-CL; Schulte-PA
Ann Occup Hyg 2012 Jul; 56(5):491-505
In the last decade since the rise in occupational safety and health (OSH) research focusing on nanomaterials, some progress has been made in generating the health effects and exposure data needed to perform risk assessment and develop risk management guidance. Yet, substantial research gaps remain, as do challenges in the translation of these research findings to OSH guidance and workplace practice. Risk assessment is a process that integrates the hazard, exposure, and dose-response data to characterize risk in a population (e.g. workers), in order to provide health information needed for risk management decision-making. Thus, the research priorities for risk assessment are those studies that will reduce the uncertainty in the key factors that influence the estimates. Current knowledge of OSH in nanotechnology includes the following: (i) nanomaterials can be measured using standard measurement methods (respirable mass or number concentration), (ii) workplace exposures to nanomaterials can be reduced using engineering controls and personal protective equipment, and (iii) current toxicity testing and risk assessment methods are applicable to nanomaterials. Yet, to ensure protection of workers' health, research is still needed to develop (i) sensitive and quantitative measures of workers' exposure to nanomaterials, (ii) validation methods for exposure controls, and (iii) standardized criteria to categorize hazard data, including better prediction of chronic effects. This article provides a state-of-the-art overview on translating current hazard research data and risk assessment methods for nanomaterials to the development and implementation of effective risk management guidance.
Nanotechnology; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Toxicology; Epidemiology; Risk-factors; Health-hazards; Hazards; Particulates; Dose-response; Respirable-dust; Respiration; Personal-protective-equipment; Chronic-exposure; Author Keywords: hazard assessment; nanomaterials; occupational exposure; occupational exposure limit; occupational health; respirable dust; risk assessment; risk management
Eileen D. Kuemple, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Education and Information Division, Nanotechnology Research Center, Cincinnati, OH 45226
Issue of Publication
Annals of Occupational Hygiene
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division