NIOSH Issues Medical Screening Guidance for Nano Workers

NIOSH issued interim guidance today for medical screening and hazard surveillance for workers who could be exposed to engineered nanoparticles. "Current Intelligence Bulletin 60: Interim Guidance for the Medical Screening and Hazard Surveillance for Workers Potentially Exposed to Engineered Nanoparticles," available at www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2009-116/, advises taking prudent measures to control occupational exposures such as what was explained in an earlier NIOSH document "Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology: An Information Exchange with NIOSH."

Also recommended is standard industrial hygiene: identifying processes that involve production and use of engineered nanoparticles and continued use of established medical surveillance to detect any increase in the frequency of adverse health effects.

"Leaders in business, the health community, and public policy have widely agreed on the need for prudent occupational safety and health strategies in the growing nanotechnology industry," NIOSH Acting Director Christine Branche, Ph.D., said. "NIOSH is pleased to help provide scientific guidance for such strategies, which are integral for maintaining U.S. leadership in the global nanotechnology market."

Although there is insufficient evidence to recommend specific medical screening of workers who may be exposed to engineered nanoparticles, where occupational medical screening recommendations exist for given chemicals or bulk materials, those recommendations are applicable for workers exposed to engineered nanoparticles composed of those same chemicals or bulk materials, according to the agency. Information about NIOSH's ongoing research program is posted at www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/nanotech/.

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