NIOSH Seeks Comments on Draft Plan for Protecting Nano Workers

The agency is considering focusing on five "key goals," including increasing understanding of new hazards and related health risks, supporting the creation of guidance materials, supporting epidemiologic studies for nanomaterial workers, and promoting national adherence with risk management guidance.

NIOSH is asking for comments by June 25 on a Nanotechnology Research Plan for 2018-2025 that will serve as a roadmap for advancing understanding of the risks nanotechnology workers face from their exposures and for the implementation of effective protective risk management strategies.

The 58-page document was published in the Federal Register on April 24. Comments may be submitted by visiting www.regulations.gov and searching for Docket No. CDC-2018-0038; the draft plan is in the docket folder.

Since 2004, NIOSH has pioneered research on the toxicological properties and characteristics of nanoparticles, the notice states, and the agency developed its first nanotechnology strategic plan the following year to guide its nanotechnology research. This strategic plan was updated in 2009 and in 2013. NIOSH said in the notice it wants to build on the accomplishments of ongoing research to develop the next strategic research goals and objectives for 2018-2025 and has identified 10 critical research areas for nanotechnology research and communication. The 10 are: 1) toxicity and internal dose, 2) measurement methods, 3) exposure assessment, 4) epidemiology and surveillance, 5) risk assessment, 6) engineering controls and PPE, 7) fire and explosion safety, 8) recommendations and guidance, 9) global collaborations, and 10) applications and informatics.

The agency is considering focusing the overarching strategic research goals for those areas on five "key goals": 1) Increase understanding of new hazards and related health risks to nanomaterial workers, 2) expand understanding of the initial hazard findings of engineered nanomaterials, 3) support the creation of guidance materials to inform nanomaterial workers, employers, health professionals, regulatory agencies, and decision makers about hazards, risks, and risk management approaches, 4) support epidemiologic studies for nanomaterial workers including medical and exposure studies, and 5) assess and promote national adherence with risk management guidance.

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