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NIOSH Issues Updated ‘Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology,’ Reiterating Interim Guidance on Controlling Workplace Exposures


NIOSH Update:

Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 245-0645
March 31, 2009

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) today issued an updated and expanded edition of its document, “Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology.” The updated document 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 advances for determining if 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 of “Approaches” was issued in 2006. These include findings from NIOSH’s own strategic research program, as well as research by scientific partners from the U.S. 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.
  • 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.
  • Is issued as a NIOSH numbered document, so that it can be cited more easily as a resource in peer-reviewed scientific publications. The original draft version in 2004 and the previous revised draft edition in 2006 were web-based electronic documents that did not have a formal NIOSH publication number.

“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.”

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. NIOSH’s research and interim recommendations have been widely cited in the U.S. and abroad.