Protecting the nanotechnology workforce : NIOSH nanotechnology research and guidance strategic plan, 2013–2016
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Protecting the nanotechnology workforce : NIOSH nanotechnology research and guidance strategic plan, 2013–2016

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  • Alternative Title:
    NIOSH nanotechnology research and guidance strategic plan, 2013–2016;NTRC strategic plan for FY2013–FY2016;
  • Journal Article:
    DHHS publication ; (NIOSH)
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    The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is pleased to present Protecting the Nanotechnology Workforce: NIOSH Nanotechnology Research and Guidance Strategic Plan, 2013–2016. This plan updates the November 2009 strategic plan with knowledge gained from results of ongoing research, as described in the 2012 report Filling the Knowledge Gaps for Safe Nanotechnology in the Workplace: A Progress Report from the NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Center, 2004-2011. The NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Program follows a comprehensive plan that is managed as a matrix structure across NIOSH and supports multiple sectors in the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA).

    Nanotechnology and the commercialization of products and devices containing engineered nanomaterials could help address critical global problems concerning energy, transportation, pollution, health, and food. The potential benefits of nanotechnology are huge, and these benefits should be realized. Nonetheless, there is concern that the full potential of the societal benefits may not be realized if cautions about the adverse human health effects are not heeded and concerns are not honored. Timely, targeted research is needed to define hazards, exposures, and risks and to provide guidance for safe handling of nanomaterials. A concerted effort by industry, academia, labor, the professions, and government is needed to identify and address the knowledge gaps in a transparent and credible process that coincides with development of this new technology. NIOSH is playing an active part in this process by supporting the development of a broad spectrum of research and prevention strategies for health and safety hazards related to nanotechnology. In a series of re- ports [NIOSH 2007, 2009a, 2012a], NIOSH has summarized its progress in conducting nanotechnology research and recommending risk management strategies (see topics/nanotech/). NIOSH investigators have identified adverse health effects in animals exposed to various engineered nanomaterials; assessed exposure of workers; initiated epidemiologic research; and provided guidance on control technologies and medical surveillance. There are many questions still to be answered. A vast number of potential new nanomaterials are possible and could result in a seemingly limitless combination of physicochemical factors. There is need for an expeditious approach to controlling exposure to the large number of nanomaterials in science and commerce now and in the future. Moreover, the advanced nanomaterials under development are likely to have additional potentially hazardous characteristics that will need to be addressed [Murashov et al. 2012].

    he NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Center (NTRC) was established in 2004 to coordinate nanotechnology research across the institute. Ten critical areas of research were identified, each having at least one key scientist serving as a coordinator. The NTRC and its steering committee of critical area coordinators are responsible for developing and guiding NIOSH scientific and organizational plans in nanotechnology health and safety research.

    The development of nanotechnology has reached a point where it is being widely applied, and numerous nanomaterials and nano-enabled products are in commerce. Nanotechnology has the potential to provide great benefit to society, but it must be developed responsibly. This responsibility involves addressing any adverse human and environmental impacts of the technology associated with engineered nanomaterials (ENMs). Workers are among the first people in any society to be exposed to the potential health hazards caused by the products of new technology, and their exposure to any new material is often greater than for the general population. Therefore, worker safety and health can be seen as the core of responsible development

    Through its strategic plan for fiscal years (FY ) 2013–2016, NIOSH will marshal its resources and partner with others efficiently and effectively to advance efforts to protect the nanotechnology workforce. With the input of a broad range of stakeholders in government, academia, and the private sector, NIOSH will continue to operate under a strategic plan for nanotechnology research and guidance. The most recent previous version was published in November 2009 and included research plans through FY 2012 (see

    Suggested citation: NIOSH [2013]. Protecting the nanotechnology workforce: NIOSH nanotechnology research and guidance strategic plan, 2013–2016. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication 2014–106.

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