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January 16, 2018

NIOSH Will Use Experience in Managing Engineered Nanomaterials to Address Advanced Manufacturing

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

Charles Geraci, PhD, CIH, FAIHA, Associate Director for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and Laura Hodson, MSPH, CIH, FAIHA, Coordinator of the NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Center, co-authored an article entitled “From ‘Just in Time’ to ‘Just Next Door’:  21st-century Manufacturing Challenges and Opportunities for Industrial Hygienists.”  The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) published the article in the January 2018 issue of The Synergist.  The article notes that many new manufacturing and material technologies “are simply a natural progression of nanotechnology research.”  NIOSH has been an active contributor to the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), contributing to the safe and responsible development of nanotechnology and focusing on protecting workers who manufacture and use engineered nanomaterials.  According to the article, NIOSH “intends to leverage its knowledge and experience in managing engineered nanomaterials to create a framework that supports safe and responsible development of advanced manufacturing in the U.S.”  The article states:  “The time is right for all industrial hygienists to consider the reapplication of good industrial hygiene practice to the next generation of manufacturing.  Industrial hygienists should follow the tried-and-true practice of protecting workers by hazard anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control, and confirmation.”  This includes determining the types and locations of hazards, identifying potential hazards or exposures, identifying the potentially exposed worker population, and developing a risk management plan.  The article recommends that the industrial hygiene community keep pace with the changes in processes and the continued introduction of new and more active materials, and leverage resources with others who have greater expertise.  NIOSH “will continue to utilize knowledge gained from promoting responsible development of nanomaterials as it seeks to promote responsible development of 21st-century manufacturing.”