On March 7, 2011, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) announced that it seeks comment on the types of hazard identification and risk management research that it should consider in updating the NIOSH 2009 nanotechnology strategic plan. According to the Federal Register notice, NIOSH would like to build on the accomplishments of ongoing research to develop strategic research goals and objectives through 2015. Comments are due April 15, 2011.
NIOSH identified ten critical research areas for nanotechnology research and communication: (1) toxicity and internal dose; (2) measurement methods; (3) exposure assessment; (4) epidemiology and surveillance; (5) risk assessment; (6) engineering controls and personal protective equipment (PPE); (7) fire and explosion safety; (8) recommendations and guidance; (9) communication and information; and (10) applications. NIOSH states that it is considering focusing the overarching strategic research goals for these critical areas on five key goals:
- Provide guidance to protect workers;
- Alert workers, employers, governments, and the public about possible new hazards;
- Assess the hazards of nanomaterials and the risks to workers;
- Help workers by assessing and implementing exposure registries; and
- Assess the level of protection practiced in U.S. workplaces.
NIOSH requests comment on how research in the ten critical areas and five overarching goals can be enhanced. Examples of requested information include the need for toxicity evaluation and/or workplace exposure characterization of engineered nanoparticles not currently being studied; development of technical and educational guidance materials; development of additional partnerships and collaborations; and research in the development of risk management strategies.