Posted: December 8, 2009

NIOSH updates its nanotechnology web resources

(Nanowerk News) The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has updated and enhanced several web resources containing NIOSH’s research results and recommendations on the work-related health and safety implications of nanotechnology.
The updated resources describe the latest scientific information available from NIOSH in its studies to help determine whether nanomaterials pose risks for occupational illness or injury. The enhancements are intended to help partners and stakeholders find information more easily and quickly.
“The body of scientific information on the health and safety implications of nanotechnology has grown substantially in the past five years, and continues to do so,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “We are pleased to reflect this ongoing evolution of the science by regularly updating and augmenting the widely used and widely cited resources on our web page.”
For more than five years, NIOSH has conducted groundbreaking research pertaining to nanotechnology, established partnerships with diverse stakeholders, and contributed to U.S. leadership in international efforts to determine if nanomaterials pose occupational risks. The new web resources include these:
"Progress Toward Safe Nanotechnology in the Workplace", Publication No. 2010-104, is the latest updated edition of the cornerstone "Progress" document, first issued in 2007. The revised edition describes accomplishments in NIOSH’s research in the two years since the earlier version appeared. It includes updates on 43 projects by NIOSH scientists that address key areas of information needed for risk assessment, as well as updates on extramural research supported by NIOSH. In addition, it describes advances made under partnerships with 12 companies to assess potential exposures and control technologies in current work operations. The updated edition also discusses progress under NIOSH’s collaborations with other agencies and with standards-setting organizations in the U.S. and abroad.
"Strategic Plan for NIOSH Nanotechnology Research and Guidance", Publication No. 2010-105, similarly updates NIOSH’s roadmap for advancing knowledge about the implications and applications of nanotechnology. The Strategic Plan, developed with input from a broad range of stakeholders, was first issued in 2005. The new update discusses research planned by NIOSH for the period 2009-2012 in critical areas for filling current gaps in knowledge. A key feature of the plan is the alignment of critical research areas with the four strategic goals of the NIOSH NanoTechnology Research Center and the National Nanotechnology Initiative’s priority environmental health and safety (EHS) areas. The document accounts for key stakeholder input, partner involvement, and interagency collaboration.
NIOSH redesigned and reformatted its web topic page on nanotechnology to highlight links for specific audiences -- occupational safety and health practitioners, researchers, employers and workers, and policymakers and media. While users will continue to have access to all of NIOSH’s reports, publications, and recommendations that are posted on the web page, the links are designed to help different audiences more quickly and easily find the information likely to be of greatest immediate interest to them.
NIOSH provides a web link to the Nanoparticle Information Library, which is currently hosted, maintained, and administered by Oregon State University. Originally developed by NIOSH in prototype form, the Library is designed to meet global needs of researchers and others to find published studies and data, share knowledge, and make new professional contacts.
The new resources reflect NIOSH’s commitment to reviewing and revising its strategic planning, recommendations, and documents on an ongoing basis, to reflect advances in the science. Another cornerstone NIOSH document, "Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology: Managing the Health and Safety Concerns Associated with Engineered Nanomaterials", originally issued in 2006, was updated earlier this year.
Source: NIOSH