Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content


workers, building, architect

NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals

927ZJLUa - International Coordination of Nanoscale Reference Materials (NTRC)

Start Date: 10/1/2009
End Date: 9/30/2012

Principal Investigator (PI)
Name: Aleks Stefaniak
Phone: 304-285-6302
Organization: NIOSH
Sub-Unit: DRDS
Funded By: NIOSH

Primary Goal Addressed

Secondary Goal Addressed


Attributed to Manufacturing


Project Description

Short Summary

The purpose of this project is to efficiently identify and qualify scientifically credible and maximally useful nanoscale reference materials for metrology, exposure assessment, and (eco)toxicology which should improve data quality for risk assessments and confidence in risk decision making. This project directly targets the NIOSH nanotechnology, global collaborations, exposure assessment and respiratory disease research cross-sectors and the manufacturing sector. Project outputs are information dissemination activities such as peer-reviewed journal manuscripts, conference presentations, and content for the NIOSH nanotechnology web page. The intermediate outcomes of this project are commercially-available reference materials and use of these nanoscale reference materials in health protection (number of reference materials units sold). The long-term outcome of this project will be improved understanding of health protection (number of peer-reviewed publications that use these reference materials).


The purposes of this project are to: 1) develop an international working group of occupational and environmental health professionals and major National Metrology Institutes and 2) ensure coordination and development of nanoscale reference materials with properties critical to occupational and environmental health researchers. Specifically, our project aims are to:

1. Recruit a working group of international health professionals and National Metrology Institure representatives (FY10)

2. Develop a communication framework to coordinate and increase efficiency of international nanoscale reference material development among National Metrology Institures to meet user needs (FY10-FY12).

3. Ensure National Institute for Occupational Safety and Heath participation in inter-laboratory testing to qualify nanoscale reference materials with properties relevant to occupational and environmental health and develop protocols for use (FY'10-FY'12).

The long-term objective of this proposed study is to establish a work group that enables drivers and producers to communicate and coordinate in order to develop and qualify nanoscale reference materials. A two-phase approach will be utilized to accomplish this objective. Initial efforts will focus on assembling the work group and developing communication and coordination models. The second phase will focus on qualifying nanoscale reference materials and associated reference protocols. To achieve the first specific aim, a “Wiki” electronic portal will be used to facilitate discussions and knowledge development. To complete the second aim, a combination of Wiki communications, teleconferences, web-based meetings, and when feasible and cost-effective face-to-face meetings to discuss and triage the various lists of candidate nanomaterials and metrics for development into nanoscale reference materials. For the final aim, laboratory expertise and instrumentation will be utilized, as appropriate, to qualify nanoscale reference materials by utilizing test protocols agreed upon by collaborators.


The methods that will be used to substantiate the outcomes of this project include:

1. Units of nanoscale reference materials purchased will be tracked by national metrology institute inventories and sales records

2. Improved understanding of the accuracy of exposure assessment tools and methods and improved characterization of engineered nano-object test materials in industrial hygiene and/or toxicology and metrology studies will be tracked through use of these products as evidenced by the number of peer-reviewed literature publications that use a nanoscale reference material

Mission Relevance

Accurate characterization of the physical and/or chemical properties of engineered nano-objects is a fundamental requirement for understanding and managing potential risks posed by accidental exposure to workers and the members of the general public.

The principal obstacle to obtaining adequate characterization of engineered nano-objects risk is the lack of scientifically credible nanoscale reference materials for validation and development of exposure assessment tools (instruments, protocols, methods) and for standardization of toxicological evaluations (materials, protocols). Currently, only seven nanoscale reference materials have been qualified worldwide and these materials do not address all perceived materials and characteristics needs of the metrology, toxicology, and occupational and environmental health communities.

International collaboration will result in nanoscale RMs that enable and accelerate exposure assessment, toxicology, and risk assessment research and development of policy and, if necessary, guidance and/or regulation of EN.

This project will address this problem by: 1) developing an international working group of occupational and environmental health professionals and major National Metrology Institutes (NMIs) and 2) ensuring coordination and development of nanoscale RMs with properties critical to occupational and environmental health researchers.