Categories: Engineering Control, Nanotechnology
December 9th, 2013 7:03 am ET -
Jennifer L. Topmiller, MS; Kevin H. Dunn, Sc.D., CIH
A simple hood capturing powder from a mixing tank in a nanomaterial production facility. Photo by NIOSH.
Engineered nanomaterials are materials that are intentionally produced and have at least one primary dimension less than 100 nanometers (nm). Nanomaterials have properties different from those of larger particles of the same material, making them unique and desirable for specific product applications. The consumer products market currently has more than 1,000 nanomaterial-containing products including makeup, sunscreen, food storage products, appliances, clothing, electronics, computers, sporting goods, and coatings [WWICS 2011].
It is difficult to estimate how many workers are involved in this field. By one estimate, there are 400,000 workers worldwide in the field of nanotechnology, with an estimated 150,000 of those in the United States [Roco et al. 2010]. The National Science Foundation has estimated that approximately 6 million workers will be employed in nanotechnology industries worldwide by 2020.
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Categories: Safety and Health Data
December 2nd, 2013 3:18 pm ET -
Dale Shoemaker, PhD; Rosa Key-Schwartz, PhD; Gayle DeBord, PhD; and Yvonne Gagnon, MPH
Many products essential to daily life are produced using chemicals that can endanger human health unless properly controlled. While the end product may be safe for the consumer, the workers who manufacture the product may be occupationally exposed to the chemical ingredients more directly or at higher concentrations than the consumer who uses the final product. Monitoring these occupational exposures is vital for determining if they are potentially harmful to workers and if action is needed to reduce or eliminate exposure. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed and rigorously evaluated over 300 methods for evaluating worker exposure that are available in the NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM). These methods describe not only the analysis procedure but how to collect samples for analysis. The results can indicate whether action is needed to reduce exposure.
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November 21st, 2013 8:07 am ET -
Kathleen Fitzsimmons, MPH
What better time than during the American Cancer Society’s annual Great American Smokeout, to highlight the benefit of comprehensive smoke-free workplaces on the health of workers. Furnishing a smoke-free work environment has been shown to both reduce exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) among non-smokers, and also to decrease smoking among employees. In Massachusetts, recent surveillance findings suggest that one approach to reaching that goal – comprehensive state laws mandating smoke-free workplaces – had a measurable positive impact.
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November 13th, 2013 11:19 am ET -
“When I grow up, I want to be an industrial hygienist.” Hearing a ten-year-old girl say those words would probably warrant a double take. While there might be some little girls out there dreaming about one day conducting research and working in a laboratory, studies suggest that more often, it’s a ten-year-old boy who will have the dream and will realize it when he grows up. The reality is that a disproportionately smaller number of women than men follow careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Scientific organizations agree that a better balance is needed. Perhaps, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, more girls will one day enthusiastically say, “epidemiologist, health communication specialist, medical officer, engineer, psychologist!”
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