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workers, building, architect

NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals

927Z1KY - Nanotechnology Information Dissemination

Start Date: 9/1/2005
End Date: 9/30/2011

Principal Investigator (PI)
Name: Charles Geraci
Phone: 513-533-8339
Organization: NIOSH
Sub-Unit: EID
Funded By: NIOSH

Primary Goal Addressed

Secondary Goal Addressed


Attributed to Manufacturing


Project Description

Short Summary

Nanotechnology is a rapidly developing area that has the potential to influence a large number of industrial processes and products in the manufacturing sector in the United States. Some of the greatest potential has been described in the areas of electronics, semiconductors, medical imaging, sensing, and composite materials. There are many areas of uncertainty regarding the occupational and environmental health and safety of nanomaterials. Worker exposure to nanomaterials represents the highest potential human exposure. This project will develop communication products such as web pages, NIOSH numbered documents, technical publications and presentations, to communicate and disseminate the most current research results and recommendations on the health and safety issues involved in nanotechnology. NIOSH will develop key stakeholder partnerships in the manufacturing sector to effectively disseminate the products of this project.


This project will produce and disseminate educational information on current best practices for minimizing occupational exposure risks during the various phases of nanotechnology research, development, and production. The types of communication products and vehicles to be used include: creation of a NIOSH Nanotechnology Information exchange on the Institute's Web site to provide a vehicle for presenting the latest information on nanotechnology and to provide customers a means to provide feedback, ask questions, and provide examples of work; developing and publishing a Current Intelligence Bulletin on Working with Engineered Nanomaterials, which will present NIOSH's current knowledge and recommendations on health effects, exposure limits, exposure monitoring, personal protective equipment (PPE), respiratory protection, and engineering controls; educational materials that will be used to teach the health and safety components of nanotechnology and nanomaterial processing at the graduate and undergraduate level; and nano-safe training tool kits that can be used as part of an overall risk management program by nanotechnology companies or companies who incorporate nanomaterials into their products. This information will also be valuable to secondary users of nanomaterials who may not be producing the materials but are incorporating them into existing products. In addition to materials developed by NIOSH, partnerships with Universities and businesses will be developed to incorporate their experience and share practices they have developed that have been effective. This project will effect a direct translation of research into practice by communicating NIOSH research and field observations into practice by developing training documents and tools. The time frame for this project extends into FY10 because it will be the primary means to communicate NIOSH research results to the nanotechnology industry and to maintain an active dialogue with that community.


The goal of this project is to answer questions and remove uncertainties associated with the introduction of engineered nanomaterials into the workplace. To accomplish that goal, this project will create an effective mechanism for disseminating NIOSH research results on occupational safety and health issues associated with nanotechnology. Specifically, this project will focus on collaborating with companies, universities, and government laboratories who are involved in research, development, and production of nanomaterials. The first objective is to develop an electronic forum for exchange on current information on the potential occupational hazards associated with creating and processing nanomaterials. The second objective is to convert objective NIOSH research into a series of guidelines and recommended practices for the safe and responsible development of nanotechnology processes and products. The impact of this project will be measured by the extent to which NIOSH recommended practices are implemented by organizations engaged in the research, development, production, or use of nanomaterials. Data on the extent of implementation will be gathered through partnerships in the industry and with academia.

Mission Relevance

Nanotechnology is a rapidly expanding technology that has been described as having great potential impact on the global economy. The technology involves creating or engineering materials in the nanometer size range. Particles and materials in this size range exhibit new and often unique properties that have the potential to improve the performance of many existing products. Nanomaterials are being developed and produced in quantities ranging from research scale to commercial production. Sharing knowledge on safe handling procedures for the various levels of production and the different tasks involved will help minimize any potential risk associated with these new materials. In some instances, nano-sized forms of existing materials are being introduced into existing processes and products. NIOSH will produce educational materials that will provide information on potential health hazards, recommended control measures, and guidance on personal protective equipment. One of the key features of the web page will be the ability by readers to post case studies and enter into a dialogue with NIOSH on various nanotechnology topics.

This project supports the following goals:

Sector Program

Manufacturing Sector


Strategic Goal 9: Enhance the state of knowledge related to emerging risks to occupational safety and health in manufacturing.

Cross Sector Health Outcome Programs

Cancer, Reproductive, and Cardiovascular Diseases

Strategic Goal 1 (09PPCRCSG1): Reduce the incidence and mortality of work related cancer

Strategic Goal 3 (09PPCRCSG3): Reduce the incidence and mortality of workrelated cardiovascular disease

Strategic Goal 4 (09PPCRCSG4): Reduce the incidence and mortality of other chronic diseases, including (but not limited to), work-related neurologic (including cerebrovascular) and renal disease.

Respiratory Diseases


Strategic Goal 1: Prevent and reduce work-related airways diseases.


Strategic Goal 2: Prevent and reduce work-related interstitial lung diseases.


Strategic Goal 4: Prevent and reduce work-related respiratory malignancies.


Strategic Goal 5: Prevent respiratory and other diseases potentially resulting from occupational exposures to nanomaterials.

Intermediate Goal (09PPRDRIG5.2): characterize respiratory exposures and measures used to reduce exposures, including engineering controls and respiratory protection, in work settings where engineered nanomaterials are produced or used.

Activity/Output Goal (09PPRDRAOG5.2.1): develop partnerships and conduct field evaluations of facilities where nanomaterials are produced or used.

Intermediate Goal (09PPRDRIG5.3): develop guidance for facilities that produce or use nanomaterials.

Activity/Output Goal (09PPRDRAOG5.3.1): complete guidance documents on medical surveillance and use of control banding in facilities where nanomaterials are produced or used.

Other Cross Sector Programs

Communications and Information Dissemination


Strategic Goal 1: Increase by 30%, the translation of evidence-based research and promote the use of advanced dissemination systems to increase awareness of NIOSH scientific information products.

Activity/Output Goal 1.0.1(09PPCIDAOG1.0.1): Develop and review scientific information products for the public and the scientific community and monitor NANO website activities.

Global Collaborations


Strategic Goal 5: Prevent worker illness globally from exposure to nanomaterials by sharing information.

Intermediate Goal 5.1 (099PPGLCIG5.1): The World Health Organization provides for information sharing about nanomaterials among the 65 Collaborating Centers. (See also Nanotechnology Cross Sector Strategic Goals.)

Activity/Output Goal 5.1.1 (09PPGlCAOG5.1.1): Provide a NIOSH Nanotechnology Topic page as an international resource (

Intermediate Goal 1.2 (09PPNANIG1.2) Worker exposures. Quantitatively assess exposures to nanomaterials in the workplace including inhalation and dermal exposure. Determine how exposures differ by work task or process.
Performance Measure 1.2 Within three years develop a baseline worker exposure assessment that identifies how exposures differ by work task or process.

Intermediate Goal 5.1 (09PPNANIG5.1) Extend existing measurement methods. Evaluate current methods for measuring airborne mass concentrations of respirable particles in the workplace and determine whether these mass-based methods can be used as an interim approach or measuring nanomaterials in the workplace and to maintain continuity with historical methods.
Performance Measure 5.1. Within three years evaluate the correlation between particle number, surface area, mass, and particle size distribution airborne measurement results and provide guidance for sampler selection based on the nanomaterial of interest. Continue to conduct measurement studies of nanoparticles in the workplace over the next five years and establish a suite of instruments and protocols for nanoparticle measurement in the workplace. Continue with refining the NIOSH method 5040 specifications for the collection of elemental and organic carbon for application to the collection of carbon nanotubes and nanofibers.

Intermediate Goal 5.2 (09PPNANIG5.2) Develop new measurement methods. Expand the currently available instrumentation by developing and field testing methods that can accurately measure workplace airborne exposure concentrations of nanomaterials using metrics associated with toxicity (e.g., particle surface area, particle number).
Performance Measure 5.2. Support at least three research projects over the next three years with the goal of creating a measurement method that can be correlated with the metrics associated with toxicity. Within five years develop a handheld fast-response nanoparticle monitor and software for spatial mapping of nanoparticles.

Intermediate Goal 6.1 (09PPNANIG6.1) Engineering controls. Evaluate the effectiveness of engineering control techniques for nanoaerosols and develop new approaches as needed.
Performance Measure 6.1. Conduct field investigations of workplaces where nanoparticles are manufactured and used and evaluate existing engineering controls. Within three years publish updated engineering control guidance.

Intermediate Goal 6.2 (09PPNANIG6.2) Personal protective equipment (PPE). Evaluate and improve the effectiveness of PPE for reducing worker exposures to nanomaterials.
Performance Measure 6.2. Within five years publish updated guidance on the effectiveness of PPE for reducing worker exposures to nanoparticles.

Intermediate Goal 6.4 (09PPNANIG6.4) Work practices. Evaluate the role of work practices and administrative controls in reducing potential exposures to nanomaterials. Make recommendations for appropriate and effective use of these approaches.
Performance Measure 6.4. Within five years publish updated work practice and administrative control guidance.

Intermediate Goal 6.5 (09PPNANIG6.5) Control banding. Evaluate the suitability of a qualitative risk management approach similar to control banding to develop guidance for working with engineered nanomaterials due to insufficient information available to apply traditional exposure-limit–based control strategies.
Performance Measure 6.5. Within three years publish a document on the suitability of control banding approaches for nanomaterials.

Intermediate Goal 8.1 (09PPNANIG8.1) Guidance documents. Translate research findings into useable guidance documents for nanotechnology owners and workers.
Performance Measure 8.1. Within two years, update the document, Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology: An Information Exchange with NIOSH. Within two years, produce brochures and fact sheets to provide guidance to owners, workers, and laboratory staff. Continue to look for opportunities to translate research from the critical research areas into practice.

Intermediate Goal 9.1 (09PPNANIG9.1) Nanoinformatics. Develop a roadmap to create a nanoinformatics database management tool relevant to nanomaterial environmental health and safety information.
Performance Measure 9.1. Creation of a roadmap that aligns new nanoinformatics with the NIOSH Nanoparticle Information Library (NIL) within the next three years.

Intermediate Goal 9.2 (09PPNANIG9.2) Communication. Establish and maintain national and international partnerships with whom knowledge gaps, research needs and priorities, approaches, and results can be shared openly and collaboratively.
Performance Measure 9.2. Within one year, identify and initiate/establish contact with at least one potential partner from each of the following areas: government, industry, academia, and labor.

Intermediate Goal 9.3 (09PPNANIG9.3) Information. Develop and disseminate effective information, education, and training materials to various target audiences such as nanotechnology workers and employers, occupational safety and health professionals, policy-makers, decision-makers, and/or the scientific community.
Performance Measures 9.3. Within one year, develop at least one informational document tailored to a target audience identified above. Evaluate/assess the reach and effectiveness of the above tailored informational piece within two years. Update progress report on the NIOSH nanotechnology research and communication efforts within two years. Within two years, update the document, Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology: An Information Exchange with NIOSH.



Strategic Goal 3: Promote healthy workplaces through interventions, recommendations, and capacity building.

Intermediate Goal 3 (09PPNANIG3): Epidemiology and Surveillance
Currently, human studies of exposure and response to engineered nanomaterials are not available. Gaps in knowledge and understanding of nanomaterials must be filled before epidemiologic studies can be performed. For example, improvements in exposure assessment will allow researchers to identify groups of workers likely exposed to nanomaterials. In turn, health studies conducted on these worker- groups can provide useful information about the potential health risks associated with nanomaterials. Until such studies can be conducted effectively, studies of humans exposed to other aerosols (i.e., larger respirable particles) can be used to evaluate the potential health risks to airborne nanomaterials.

Intermediate Goal 3.1 (09PPNANIG3.1) Evaluate current knowledge.
Critically evaluate existing exposure and health data for workers employed in workplaces where nanomaterials are produced and used. Determine what is known about exposure response to existing nanomaterials, evaluate the applicability of this information to new nanomaterials, and identify data gaps and epidemiological research needs.
Performance Measure 3.1. Over the next three years, seek input from a collaborative working group made up of representatives from industry, government, academia, and labor concerning the value and utility of establishing exposure registries for workers potentially exposed to engineered nanoparticles.


Strategic Goal 4: Enhance global workplace safety and health through national and international collaborations on nanotechnology research and guidance.
A collaborative working group made up of representatives from industry, government, academia, and labor concerning the value and utility of establishing exposure registries for workers potentially exposed to engineered nanoparticles.


Strategic Goal 4: Enhance global workplace safety and health through national and international collaborations on nanotechnology research and guidance.