It’s a big day for some teeny tiny particles. Today has been designated “National Technology Day” by the U.S. nanotechnology community. The goal, according to Dr. John Howard, Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): to inform the public about nanotechnology, share scientific accomplishments that benefit industry and society, and promote its future possibilities and benefits.
Engineered nanomaterials are fascinating. Just by making stuff smaller researchers have discovered forms of materials and even completely new materials that can be applied as diversely as better drugs, better paints or faster electronics. Using chemicals in a nanoscale version can completely alter their nature.
A leading European scientist says it’s “quite urgent to understand the exact mechanisms of nanotoxicity and make a classification depending on the mechanism.”
That warning from Dr. Vladimir Baulin of the University Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, Spain comes with a reminder that radioactivity or x-rays “entered our lives the same way,” but that it took some time before researchers understood how they affected living organisms.
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Engineered nanoparticles are unique. They are generally smaller than both red blood cells and viruses, don’t weigh much, and have a great amount of surface area proportionate to their size.
A report published by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that inhalation of nanomaterials is the exposure route that provides the most significant health effects to consumers and others.
The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) has revealed plans for a major research effort to explore how nanotechnology is transforming our industry, and what implications this holds for worker safety.
China should carry out more-extensive safety studies and improve regulatory oversight of synthetic nanomaterials, leading Chinese researchers said at the 6th International Conference on Nanotoxicology in Beijing this month.
Each day millions of workers in the United States use National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) certified respirators to reduce exposure to harmful gases, vapors, and particulate hazards.