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January 10, 2014

Journal of Nanoparticle Research Publishes Article Describing Occupational Safety and Health Criteria for Responsible Development of Nanotechnology

Lynn L. Bergeson

On December 7, 2013, the Journal of Nanoparticle Research published online an article entitled “Occupational safety and health criteria for responsible development of nanotechnology.” The authors, who are affiliated with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), describe five criterion actions that they believe should be practiced by decision-makers to ensure the responsible development of nanotechnology: “(1) anticipate, identify, and track potentially hazardous nanomaterials in the workplace; (2) assess workers’ exposures to nanomaterials; (3) assess and communicate hazards and risks to workers; (4) manage occupational safety and health risks; and (5) foster the safe development of nanotechnology and realization of its societal and commercial benefits.”  According to the authors, because of the current “unknowns and concerns about nanomaterials,” “it is prudent to treat them as potentially hazardous until sufficient toxicology, and exposure data are gathered for nanomaterial-specific hazard and risk assessments.” The article notes: “The findings and conclusions of this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.”