NIOSH is the federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. In 2004, NIOSH created the Nanotechnology Research Center in response to public concern over nanotechnology implications. The NIOSH Nanotechnology Program has developed four strategic goals. The first goal is to understand and prevent work-related injuries and illnesses potentially caused by nanoparticles and nanomaterials. NIOSH is addressing this goal via research on risk assessment and risk management of nanotechnology in the workplace, including toxicology, metrology, control technology, exposure assessment, medical surveillance and guidance, and safety research. The report, Progress Toward Safe Nanotechnology in the Workplace, released in 2007, addresses research progress in 10 key areas, research gaps, continuing project plans, and opportunities for collaboration. The second strategic goal of the NIOSH Nanotechnology Program is to promote healthy workplaces through interventions, recommendations, and capacity building. NIOSH is addressing this goal in a number of ways. For example, the NIOSH field team partners with employers to assess exposures in the workplace and the effectiveness of control technologies in the mitigation of those exposures. In addition, NIOSH has developed best practice guidelines for the workplace in the regularly updated report, Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology: An Information Exchange with NIOSH. The third strategic goal is to enhance global workplace safety and health through national and international collaboration on nanotechnology. To achieve this goal, NIOSH is engaging in a number of activities, including: (1) collaborations with companies; (2) participation in interagency working groups; (3) participation in the International Organization for Standardization TC 229 Nanotechnology Working Group on Health, Safety, and Environment; (4) collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); and (5) collaboration with the World Health Organization. The fourth strategic goal of the NIOSH Nanotechnology Program is to conduct research to prevent work-related injuries by applying nanotechnology products. To achieve this goal, NIOSH is examining the application of nanotechnology and nanomaterials to the development of filters, sensors, and protective clothing for occupational safety. NIOSH Nanotechnology Program funding has increased to more than $6 million in 2007; this includes funding for extramural programs, which has remained steady at approximately $1 million per year. NIOSH engages in intramural activities related to nanotechnology, including: (1) the National Occupational Research Agenda: Nanotechnology Safety and Health Research Program; (2) the NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Center; (3) the Nanotechnology Research Supplement; and (4) Nano-related Division Projects. NIOSH also funds nanotechnology research through research grants, joint RFAs, and contracts to address specific needs. Information on NIOSH extramural programs can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/oep/
and at http://www.grants.gov
. Since 2004, NIOSH has been engaged with EPA, NSF, and NIEHS in the joint RFA, "Nanotechnology Research Grants: Investigating Environmental and Human Health Issues." From this RFA, up to $8 million has been spent each year to support 15-25 research grants and exploratory grants, with up to $1 million per year from NIOSH. Research funded by NIOSH addresses the Institute's mission to provide leadership in preventing work-related illnesses and injuries. In FY 2007, NIOSH has worked jointly with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and EPA on an NIH-led RFA, "Manufactured Nanomaterials: Physico-chemical Principles of Biocompatibility and Toxicity." From this RFA up to $4.1 million per year will support 10-15 research grants and exploratory grants, including up to $0.5 million from NIOSH.