NIOSH Announces Partnership on Nano Research

The agency and the National Science Foundation Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing, a collaboration of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Northeastern University, and the University of New Hampshire, will study occupational health and safety concerns related to the nanotechnology industry.

NIOSH announced it is partnering with the National Science Foundation Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing, a collaboration of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Northeastern University, and the University of New Hampshire, to study occupational health and safety concerns in the nanotechnology industry so the findings can be shared.

"Partnerships are vital for stimulating and supporting the health and safety research that will be integral to the growth of nanotechnology," NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard said. "We are pleased to join with UMass Lowell and the other collaborators to advance new studies on this frontier of technology and disseminate our findings."

"As a nation, we can only harness the promise of nanotechnology to fuel the economy with life-changing products if we understand the health and safety implications of development," UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan said during the "Destination Nano" Conference held Sept. 22 at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center. "Our experts at UMass Lowell have worked with industry for decades to assess workplace hazards and find solutions. It was a natural progression for us to leverage that expertise to the field of nanotechnology."

Activities include UMass Lowell Professor Michael Ellenbecker and Candace Tsai, CHN's EH&S manager, working with Dr. Chuck Geraci, coordinator of the NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Center, to address safety issues, and NIOSH and UMass Lowell research teams evaluating exposures and recommending good practices at small and medium-sized companies and research laboratories nationwide. NIOSH said it will publish best practices developed by Ellenbecker and Tsai.

"NIOSH has established itself as global leader in conducting research that addresses the diverse health and safety challenges presented by the rapid changes occurring in nanotechnology," Geraci said. "Without strong partnerships in academia and the private sector, it would be very difficult to achieve our primary mission of protecting worker and human health by providing good risk management guidance to the nanomaterials industry. Our partnership with the CHN strengthens those links and our history of working with UMass Lowell offers distinct advantages."

Also, UMass Lowell will host and NIOSH will co-sponsor the 5th International Symposium on Nanotechnology, Occupational and Environmental Health on Aug. 9-12, 2011, in Boston.
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