NIOSH's Geraci Highlights Nano Control Banding Progress

"We believe our understanding will continue to support a control banding approach," the NIOSH expert told a crowded session's audience June 3.

SAN ANTONIO -- Chuck Geraci, Ph.D., coordinator of NIOSH's Nanotechnology Research Center, headlined a educational session June 3 at the 2014 American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Expo devoted to nanotechnology. He detailed encouraging research findings, as well as some less encouraging results, in an overall positive presentation. Most importantly, Geraci told his large audience that, even though "I think what we're going to see are a multitude of exposure scenarios," research thus far suggests control banding will yield effective controls. The industrial hygiene community won't have to wait five years for an occupational exposure limit to be published, he said.

Geraci said ILO is currently working on an OEL document and NIOSH is developing supporting documents for it at this time.

His presentation showed how pervasively nanomaterials already are used across the major sectors of the U.S. economy; he said nearly every element in the periodic table eventually will be used in nano form, and the community lacks the resources to conduct in vivo and in vitro testing on all of them.

NIOSH currently has 30 nanotoxicology studies under way and has published several papers in the past two years, Geraci said. What's needed, he said, is a "converged safety model" to be part of the governance of nanomaterials science -- a model in which many of the familiar disciplines, such as biology, chemistry, toxicology, and materials sciences, are combined and integrated.

"We believe our understanding will continue to support a control banding approach," Geraci said.

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