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December 16, 2019

NIOSH Will Request Information on Engineered Nanomaterials to Evaluate in Developing OELs

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is scheduled to publish a Federal Register notice on December 17, 2019, requesting information on toxicological and physicochemical data of engineered nanomaterials (ENM) to evaluate in developing categorical occupational exposure limits (OEL).  According to the notice, NIOSH intends to develop categorical OELs based on the available scientific evidence regarding the hazard or safety of ENMs.  NIOSH seeks to obtain information, including published and unpublished reports and research findings, to evaluate the possible adverse health risks of occupational exposure to ENMs.  Information will be due 60 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register.

NIOSH states that “development of an OEL for an individual chemical involves a critical review of the available scientific data in humans and animals to identify relevant studies and to characterize the various lines of evidence that can support the derivation of the OEL.”  NIOSH requests human, animal, and cellular toxicology data, including but not limited to:  acute, subchronic, or chronic data; the physicochemical characterization of those ENMs; and other information about the biological mechanisms and toxicological effects of ENMs.  NIOSH also seeks information on studies that evaluate the dose-response relationships between exposure to ENMs and the development of adverse lung effects including inflammation, fibrosis, or neoplasia.  According to the notice, NIOSH will publish a Technical Report that describes the data, methods, and findings for the development of categorical OELs for ENMs, which may include relevant information submitted in response to this request.  NIOSH will make the draft Technical Report available for public comment in a subsequent Federal Register notice.