Nanotechnology Research Center

Program Goals

A key leadership role for the NTRC is the development of goals and these have been identified in previous strategic plans.1,2 Research Plan, Continuing To Protect the Nanotechnology Workforce: NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Plan for 2018–2025external icon will guide NIOSH research and partnership efforts over the next seven years.

The five overarching strategic goals of the NTRC are:

  • Strategic Goal 1: Increase understanding of new hazards and related health risks to nanomaterial workers.
  • Strategic Goal 2: Build upon initial data and information to further increase understanding of the initial hazard findings of engineered nanomaterials.
  • Strategic Goal 3: Build upon initial guidance materials to further  inform nanomaterial workers, employers, health professionals, regulatory agencies, and decision-makers about hazards, risks, and risk management approaches.
  • Strategic Goal 4: Support epidemiologic studies for nanomaterial workers, including medical, cross-sectional, prospective cohort, and exposure studies.
  • Strategic Goal 5: Assess and promote national and international adherence with risk management guidance.

NTRC Priority Goals

Based on burden, need, and impact, the following goals are the top three priorities for the NTRC:

  • Priority 1—Strategic Goal 1: Increase understanding of new nanomaterials and related health risks to nanomaterial workers.
  • This research will contribute to the body of knowledge about the adverse health effects in animals exposed to various ENMs. The findings will have a direct impact on risk assessment of potential outcomes for exposed workers; contribute to epidemiologic research; and provide background that can be used to create guidance on control technologies and medical surveillance.
  • Scanning electron image of carbon nanotubes in a cellular structure.

    Priority 2—Strategic Goal 3: Build upon initial guidance materials to inform nanomaterial workers, employers, health professionals, regulatory agencies, and decision-makers about hazards, risks, and risk management approaches.

  • Various target audiences such as nanotechnology workers and employers, occupational safety and health professionals, policy-makers, decision-makers, and/or the scientific community in research, manufacturing, construction, mining, oil and gas, and healthcare will begin or continue to apply NIOSH guidance to responsibly develop, handle, and commercialize ENMs. Through strategic planning, research, partnering with stakeholders, and making information widely available, the NTRC will continue supporting the responsible development of nanotechnology by translating research into effective risk management guidance and practices across the lifecycle of ENM-enabled products.
  • Priority 3—Activity/Output Goal 3.1.3: Use a nanomaterial hazard banding classification scheme to group ENMs.
  • This research will investigate the evidence for developing predictive algorithms of structure-activity relationships and comparative toxicity for use in quantitative risk assessment. Findings from this research will provide the scientific basis for developing occupational exposure limits for individual nanomaterials or groups of nanomaterials.

 

These priorities have been integrated into the NIOSH Strategic Plan in research goals to better understand the potential respiratory health effects of exposure to nanomaterials and other advanced materials in the Construction and Manufacturing sectors, as a well as a goal to research the potential link of nanomaterial exposure to cancer and cardiovascular disease among manufacturing workers.

NIOSH has identified 10 critical topic areas to address knowledge gaps, develop strategies, and provide recommendations. Each topic provides a brief description of the research that NIOSH is conducting in that particular area of nanotechnology.

References

  1. NIOSH [2010]. Strategic Plan for NIOSH Nanotechnology Research and Guidance: Filling the Knowledge. Gaps. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2010-105pdf icon.
  2. NIOSH [2013]. Protecting the Nanotechnology Workforce: NIOSH Nanotechnology Research and Guidance Strategic Plan, 2013-2016. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2014-106.
Page last reviewed: December 18, 2019