NIOSH Issues Updated Nanotechnology Guidance

April 6, 2009
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued an updated and expanded edition of “Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology,” a document that reiterates NIOSH’s standing interim recommendation that employers take prudent measures to control occupational exposures in the manufacture and industrial use of engineered nanomaterials as research explores whether such materials pose work-related health and safety risks.

The new document, which is available at, reflects new scientific findings from ongoing research that have been published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature since the last revised draft version was issued in 2006. These include findings from NIOSH’s own strategic research program, as well as research by scientific partners from the United States and abroad.

The revised document includes an expanded section on risk management, with a detailed discussion of factors that may affect occupational exposure to engineered nanomaterials, and expanded interim recommendations for controlling work-related exposures.

It also expands the discussion of exposure assessment and characterization for engineered nanomaterials, including a new summary table of instruments and measurement methods used in the evaluation of nanomaterial exposures.

“Health and safety practitioners and business observers have agreed that robust scientific research and authoritative, science-based recommendations are vital for the responsible development and growth of nanotechnology,” said NIOSH Acting Director Christine M. Branche, Ph.D. “NIOSH is pleased to issue the updated ‘Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology’ to provide ongoing interim guidance, reflect the astonishing advance of complex research in this area, and engage public review and comment.”

The revised guidance was issued as a NIOSH numbered document, so that it can be cited more easily as a resource in peer-reviewed scientific publications.

More information about NIOSH’s strategic research program on the occupational health and safety implications and applications of nanotechnology can be found at NIOSH’s collaborative research addresses critical gaps in information needed for risk assessment in this emerging field. These include current gaps in information on ways in which workers may be exposed, ways for characterizing and measuring exposures, and potential effects of exposure.

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