NIOSH Issues Guidance on Medical Industry's Nanotechnology Exposure

NIOSH issued an interim guidance today, titled “Interim Guidance for the Medical Screening of Workers Potentially Exposed to Engineered Nanoparticles,” that deals with the issue of possibly screening medical workers that are potentially exposed to engineered nanoparticles in the manufacture and industrial use of nanomaterials.

Earlier this year Dr. Charles L. Geraci, CIH, branch chief at NIOSH's Nanotechnology Research Center (NTRC), spoke to Occupational Health & Safety magazine in the Sept. 2007 issue for a feature titled "Closing the Nanotechnology Knowledge Gap" about the guidance's planned release. "There are questions about what kind of medical evaluations, if any, should be done on people who are working with, handling, or producing nanomaterials, and the second, follow-up question is, should we be thinking about or should we consider some type of surveillance for people who are brand new into this?" he said. "They're the first group of workers ever exposed to these kinds of materials. Should exposure registries be created? How would we track prospectively this group? So it's kind of a treatment to two different topics, the medical evaluation issue and then the surveillance issue." In the story Geraci noted that this issue was deliberately left out of the agency's "Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology: An Information Exchange with NIOSH" document because it didn't know where the issue was going to go at the time.

NIOSH is seeking comments on the strengths and weaknesses of the aforementioned exposure registries. A public meeting will be held on Jan. 30, 2008, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Robert A. Taft Laboratory in Cincinnati to discuss the document. The meeting will be open to the public, but due to limited space and security clearance requirements, notification of intent to attend the meeting must be made to the NIOSH Docket Office no later than Friday, Jan. 18, 2008. Persons wanting to provide oral comments at the meeting must put in a request no later than Jan. 11, 2008 at 513/533-8611 or by email at nioshdocket@cdc.gov.

To view the guidance, or for more information, visit www.cdc.gov/niosh/review/public/115/.

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