Posted: December 27, 2007

Nanotechnology update for industrial hygienists: toxicology and exposure assessment issues

(Nanowerk News) An online web seminar on January 31, 2008 presented by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) will deal wth nanotoxicology issues for assessing and managing occupational exposure risks for nanoparticles in the workplace.
Course Description
Key exposure assessment, risk assessment, and risk management challenges for nanotechnology include integrating our knowledge of nanotoxicology into the framework of:
1. identifying emerging and never-before-studied nanomaterials and characterizing and classifying their hazards;
2. identifying tasks and potentially exposed individuals by anticipating potential exposure situations for future facilities or reviewing process flow plans, interviewing staff, and “walking around” any existing facilities in which nanomaterials have already been introduced,
3. establishing appropriate task-specific control plans by characterizing the physical properties of the nanoparticle, such as dustiness, morphology, electrostatic properties, bulk density and whether the material is in a liquid suspension, as well as defining the quantity of the nano particles; e.g. milligrams vs. kilograms; considering the frequency and duration for the particular operation, and defining the typical laboratory and production operations with nano particles, including the equipment used to synthesize and/or process them;
4. making, recording, and interpreting direct or surrogate measurements to verify the adequacy of exposure controls following the implementation of the appropriate engineering and work practice controls, including supplemental personal protective clothing and equipment, as needed; and finally
5. conducting periodic re-evaluations to ensure that controls are working as required, and to respond to changes such as new knowledge about the toxicity of the nanomaterial of interest.
Toxicology of Nanoparticles for the Industrial Hygienist
Despite rapid growth in commercial nanoparticle manufacture over the last decade, the health risks associated with exposure to many of these particles are poorly understood. There is an extensive body of scientific literature on the toxicity of ultrafine particles (such those in diesel emissions or welding fumes), and although these data characterized the behavior and toxicity of many nano-scale materials, they are not universally relevant to the diversity of existing and emerging commercially-produced nanoparticles. Research to date suggests that toxicities of disparate manufactured nanoparticles cannot be predicted by either physical or chemical properties, and acceptable protection of workers and consumers requires collaborative research and regulation.
Nanotoxicology Insights from the NIOSH Research Program
Nanotechnology is a system of innovative methods to control and manipulate matter at the near-atomic scale to produce new materials, structures, and devises. Nanoparticles are a specific class or subset of these new materials, having at least one dimension that is less than 100 nanometers. Nanoparticles exhibit unique physical and chemical properties due to their nanoscale dimensions. Nanotechnology offers the potential for tremendous improvements and advances in many areas that may benefit society, such as integrated sensors, semiconductors, medical imaging, drug delivery, structural materials, sunscreens, cosmetics, coatings, environmental remediation, and many other uses.
Nanotechnology is one of the most rapidly growing industries across the world. By 2015, the global market for nanomaterials and nanotechnology-related products is expected to reach $1 trillion and employ one million workers in the United States alone. Because of their small size and large surface area, engineered nanoparticles may have chemical, physical, and biological properties distinctly different than fine particles of the same composition. Such properties may include a high rate of pulmonary deposition, the ability to translocate from the lung to systemic sites, the ability to penetrate dermal barriers, and a high inflammatory potency per mass.
NIOSH has developed a nanotechnology safety and health research program in 2004. This program involves multi-disciplinary research in development of methods to measure and characterize nanoparticles, exposure assessment, hazard identification, and risk assessment. This presentation will describe NIOSH research concerning the pulmonary, cardiovascular, central nervous system, and dermal effects of exposure to various nanoparticles.
Managing Exposure Risks for Nanomaterials Using the Current State of Knowledge
Because of the small amount of health effects data available on the behavior of nanoparticles, it is necessary to explore modifications to traditional models that have been used to quantify risk. Some thought-provoking proposals will be presented on how one might go about assessing potential risk associated with nanoparticles, and how this process might aid in developing an overall risk management program. This presentation will also describe the experiences and knowledge generated by practitioners who have taken on the challenge of managing the health, safety and environmental issues along the life cycle of nanomaterials. Their experiences in planning and implementing a risk-based approach based on experience and prudent practice, in the absence of complete health hazard data, will help develop a template for moving forward responsibly.
Learning Objectives
Students will be provided with tools to better able them to:
  • Describe how nanotoxicology issues fit into an overall risk assessment and risk management framework for nanotechnology.
  • Understand the toxicological properties of nanoparticles of concern for the health and safety of workers and consumers, including:
  • Properties of nanoparticles that may lead to enhanced bioactivity.
  • Possible pulmonary responses to inhaled nanoparticles.
  • Possible systemic responses to inhaled nanoparticles.
  • Possible responses to dermal exposure to nanoparticles.
  • Understand and apply approaches for evaluating and managing risks for handling nanomaterials in the presence of uncertainty.
  • Certification Information
    This TeleWeb is pending ABIH approval for 0.5 IH certification maintenance (CM) points, and has been awarded 0.25 continuance of certification (COCs), and 0.25 continuing education units (CEUs).
    Individual participants seeking CM points, COCs, and CEUs must participate in the live TeleWeb or review the CD and complete/submit the final exam, evaluation, and processing fee ($35 per student).
    All final exam/certificate request forms must be received by January 12, 2007. Materials postmarked after this date will not be accepted or awarded CM points, CEUs, or COCs.
    Written Materials and CDs
    Every site registered will receive materials prepared by the speaker, which may be duplicated for each participant. Handout materials will be available through March 31, 2008.
    The TeleWeb will be recorded. Participants may purchase a CD at a special discounted price. Individuals unable to attend may also purchase a copy of the CD, with a URL to access the handout materials. CD orders must be placed in advance of the TeleWeb. Orders placed after the TeleWeb will not be accepted. To order, use either the online or the downloadable registration form. Please allow 3–4 weeks for the CD delivery.
    AIHA Member – $295 (per site)
    Nonmember – $325 (per site)
    Cancellation Policy
    Cancellations must be made in writing by January 14, 2008, for a refund (minus a $100 registration fee). Cancellations made after this date will not be refunded. Should AIHA cancel this TeleWeb, you will receive a full refund.
    System Requirements
    This TeleWeb will be supported by iLinc. IMPORTANT - the TeleWeb online platform and CDs do not support Macintosh computer systems. In order to ensure computer system compatibility, please test your system at:
    You do not need a downloadable player to view this format. However, to obtain course materials you will need Adobe Acrobat. Download a free copy at:
    Prior to registering, you must test the operating system and internet connection you will be using on the day of the TeleWeb. To test your system go to:
    To Register/Enroll
    Downloadable registration form:
    Send downloadable registration to:
    Fax: (800) 511-0048 or Mail: Seminar Registration, 775 West 1200 North, Suite 200, Springville, UT 84663
    For more information go to the AIHA website.
    Source: AIHA
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