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NIOSH Science Blog Supports Research

Sept. 2, 2014
Researchers at NIOSH have come out in support of the research conducted by W. Shane Journeay, Ph.D., M.D., and Rose H. Goldman, M.D., MPH.

In an entry in the NIOSH Science Blog titled, "Nickel Nanoparticles: A Case of Sensitization Associated with Occupational Exposure," Charles L Geraci, Ph.D.; Paul Schulte, Ph.D.; and Vladimir Murashov, Ph.D., commented, "Journeay and Goldman add valuable new scientific evidence to the ongoing base of knowledge about the need for a proactive approach to addressing potential occupational health and safety implications of nanomaterials in the burgeoning global nanotechnology industry. Case studies by alert clinicians are important to NIOSH and its partners in assessing risks posed by occupational exposure to nanomaterials, and in making recommendations for appropriate risk-management practices."

They noted that as researchers and practitioners engage these issues, "We find some important take-away messages from the new study:

  • It is important to take precautionary and protective measures as scientists learn more about the properties and potential effects of nanomaterials, including any changes in the known effects of the material in moving from traditional to nano-scale forms, such as, in this case, nickel.
  • The authors very correctly point out that there needed to be better exposure controls, and in particular, attention to the implications of exposure to nickel in the nanoparticle powder form. Because the available data do not allow scientists to understand, with confidence, potential cause-and-effect relationships between the exposure and outcomes in this case, they also correctly state that the toxicology of nanomaterials needs to continue to be investigated.   .
  • Importantly, the new report highlights the importance of conducting a new hazard assessment when nanoscale constituents are first introduced into the workplace. With a greater absolute particle number per gram and a greater total specific surface area, nanoscale constitutents substituted for their macroscale counterparts increase the potential for occupational health risks."

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