Progress Toward Safe Nanotechnology in the Workplace

A Report from the NIOSH Nanotechnology Research Center
Occupational safety and health issues of nanomaterials are complex. Because engineered nanomaterials are small yet have a relatively large surface area, they may have chemical, physical, and biological properties distinctly different from larger particles of similar chemical composition. Those properties may affect the ability of the nanomaterials to reach the gas exchange regions of the lung, travel from the lung throughout the body, penetrate dermal barriers, cross cell membranes, and interact at the molecular level. The types of nanomaterials and the opportunities for workplace
exposure to them continue to grow rapidly. The challenge is to effectively address the safety and health issues of nanotechnology while helping society realize nanotechnology's far-reaching
potential benefits.

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