Peer Review: Occupational Exposure to Carbon Nanotubes & Nanofibers

NIOSH Scientific Information Quality – Peer Review Agenda




Cross-Clearance Agencies: None

Anticipated Date of Dissemination: December, 2010

Subject of Report: Review of relevant scientific literature on occupational exposure to carbon nanotubes and nanofibers along with recommendations for preventing worker exposure.

Purpose of Report: To evaluate the health data associated with exposure to carbon nanotube and nanofibers and provide risk management recommendations to prevent worker exposure and to reduce the risk for adverse lung effects (e.g., fibrosis).

Type of Dissemination: Copy of 2010 draft given to Peer reviewers

Timing of Review: Spring 2011

Primary Disciplines or Expertise Needed for Review: Toxicology, risk assessment, risk management, and industrial hygiene Type of Review: Individual

Number of Reviewers: 4

Reviewers Selected by: NIOSH

Public Nominations Requested for Reviewers: No

Opportunities for the Public to Comment: Yes

Peer Reviewers Provided with Public Comments before Their Review: Yes

Peer Reviewers

  1. Phil Sayre, Ph.D.
    Academic and Professional Credentials: Associate Director, OPPT/RAD
    Organization Affiliation: U.S. EPA
    Area of Expertise, Discipline, or Relevant Experience: Risk management
  2. Ron White, MST (master of science in taxation)
    Academic and Professional Credentials: Associate Scientist, Deputy Director, Risk Sciences and public Policy Institute
    Organization Affiliation: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
    Area of Expertise, Discipline, or Relevant Experience: SRA nano risk assessment chair
  3. Andrew Maynard, Ph.D.
    Academic and Professional Credentials: – Charles and Rita Gelman Professor of Risk Science, Director
    Organization Affiliation: University of Michigan Risk Science Center
    Area of Expertise, Discipline, or Relevant Experience: Aerosol physics, nanoparticle sampling instrumentation
  4. Robert Aitken, Ph.D.
    Academic and Professional Credentials: Director of Strategic Consulting, Nanotechnology Programme Director, and Director of SAFENANO
    Organization Affiliation: Institute of Occupational Medicine, Edinburgh, UK
    Area of Expertise, Discipline, or Relevant Experience: Risk Management

Charge to Peer Reviewers


The document summarizes the literature describing the adverse lung effects observed in laboratory animals exposed to carbon nanotubes (CNT) and nanofibers (CNF). The purpose of the CIB is to disseminate recent information about the potential respiratory hazard to workers exposed to CNT and CNF. The intended audience of the CIB is health professionals and regulatory agencies although the recommended risk management guidance provided in the document can be used by employers and workers where exposures to CNT or CNF occur. The goals of this document are to (1) describe the relevant animal and other scientific evidence on the health effects of CNT and CNF, (2) provide a quantitative risk assessment based on dose-response information from the animal studies, (3) describe the rationale NIOSH used in the development of the draft recommended exposure limit (REL), (4) provide recommendations on how to minimize worker exposure, and (5) provide guidance on how to implement an occupational health surveillance program (hazard and medical). The charge to the peer reviewers is to objectively review the document to determine whether:

  • the hazard identification is a reasonable reflection of the available scientific studies,
  • the risk assessment and dosimetric modeling represent a reasonable methodology for estimating worker risks from exposure to carbon nanotubes and nanofibers,
  • the data and analysis used by NIOSH are appropriate for the scientific conclusions that formed the basis of the proposed REL, and
  • the recommendations (e.g., risk management, occupational health surveillance) for protecting worker’s health are reasonable and appropriate

To facilitate review of this Current Intelligence bulletin, the five questions below should be considered:

  1. Is the hazard identification and discussion of health effects for CNT and CNF a full and reasonable reflection of the animal studies and other scientific evidence in the scientific literature?
  2. Is the risk assessment and dosimetric modeling methods used in this document appropriate and relevant?
  3. Is the use of respirable mass as a dose metric appropriate for estimating worker risks from inhalation to CNT and CNF?
  4. Are the sampling and analytical methods adequate to measure worker exposure to carbon nanotubes and nanofibers?
  5. Are there additional relevant studies or methods that NIOSH should consider in developing the REL for CNT and CNF?

This charge to reviewers, the draft Current Intelligence Bulletin, and the names and affiliations of the peer review panel, along with a description of their credentials and relevant experience will be available as part of the peer review report in the NIOSH public docket and on the NIOSH web page. Substantive public comments received in the docket will be provided to the peer reviewers for their full consideration. Upon request, NIOSH will provide peer reviewers with material referenced in the document that is not available in the public domain.

Page last reviewed: May 6, 2013