Workgroup issues progress report on nanotechnology safety research

Washington – A national strategy implemented in 2011 to provide guidance to federal agencies on nanotechnology and occupational safety has led to the collection of workplace exposure assessment data and exposure control strategy resources, according to a report released June 25.

The National Nanotechnology Initiative issued the report, which was written by the Nanotechnology Environmental and Health Implications Working Group.

The progress report notes that several federal agencies have created tools for the sampling and collection of engineered nanomaterials, and NIOSH has helped develop methods for evaluating worker exposure.

OSHA, along with other federal agencies, nonprofits organizations and industry partners, has worked on methods to detect and quantify multi-walled carbon nanotubes released from products through mechanical degradation and weathering.

Several research efforts are ongoing, including NIOSH studies into workplace exposure and worker health stemming from carbon nanotubes.

The use of nanotechnology, which is the control of matter on a very small scale, has grown in recent years, but the potential risks to workers are not fully understood.