Categories: Cancer, Manufacturing, Nanotechnology
March 11th, 2013 2:00 pm ET -
Vincent Castranova, PhD; Charles L Geraci, PhD; Paul Schulte, PhD
Alveolar Bronchiolar Carcinoma of the Lung with Metastases in a Blood Vessel (arrow). Photo courtesy of Linda Sargent, Ph.D., NIOSH
Earlier today, at the annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology, NIOSH researchers reported preliminary findings from a new laboratory study in which mice were exposed by inhalation to multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT). The study was designed to investigate whether these tiny particles have potential to initiate or promote cancer. By “initiate,” we mean the ability of a substance to cause mutations in DNA that can lead to tumors. By “promote,” we mean the ability of a substance to cause cells that have already sustained such DNA mutations to then become tumors.
It is very important to have new data that describe the potential health hazards that these materials might represent, so that protective measures can be developed to ensure the safe advancement of nanotechnology in the many industries where it is being applied.
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Categories: Manufacturing, Nanotechnology
July 27th, 2012 11:54 am ET -
Vladimir Murashov, PhD; Paul Schulte, PhD; John Howard, MD
In the last five years, research and development activities in the field of nanotechnology have shifted to include advanced nanomaterials. The main feature of advanced nanomaterials that distinguishes them from simpler nanomaterials, such as carbon black and nanoscale TiO2 used primarily as additives, is the ability of advanced nanomaterials to change or evolve properties during their use, as a result of intended and unintended reactions to the external environment. Examples of advanced nanomaterials include nanomaterials functionalized for specific applications, such as nanoscale gold used in cancer treatment therapies, quantum dots used in medical imaging of the body, and carbon nanotubes and graphene used in electronics. Depending on the type of nanomaterial and the conditions of exposure, such a change of properties may result in health risks to workers handling advanced nanomaterials if exposure is not adequately controlled.
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Categories: Manufacturing, Nanotechnology, Respiratory health
December 7th, 2011 10:17 am ET -
Ziqing Zhuang, PhD, and Dennis Viscusi
Figure 1. Assessment of nanoparticle capture: n = 5; error bars represent standard deviations Sodium Chloride (TSI 3160); Silver (custom-built); Flow rate 85 L/min
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. NIOSH has certification, quality assurance, and auditing procedures in place (42 CFR Part 84) that assure purchasers and users that the products they are buying/using have been tested and manufactured to strict standards. When selected, maintained and used in the context of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-compliant respiratory protection program, in which personal protective technology is part of the hierarchy of controls to protect the worker, respirator users can expect that their respirator is working and reducing the amount of hazards that they could potentially breathe. However, as new hazards emerge, the applicability of the science that NIOSH uses to base respirator test methods, performance requirements, and use recommendations needs to be continually reaffirmed, updated and improved to assure the expected level of protection is provided.
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Categories: Chemicals, Manufacturing, Nanotechnology, Respiratory health
July 26th, 2011 3:00 pm ET -
Vladimir Murashov, PhD, Charles L Geraci, PhD, and David Weissman, MD
A reminder of the need to protect workers from hazardous dust
On June 24, 2011 the Indian Express, an on-line Indian news outlet, published an article reporting a “new” occupational lung disease and implicating a polyacrylate powder, which “seemed to be at the nano-level.”
The article is based on an investigation published by the Peoples Training and Research Center, a voluntary organization raising awareness and providing training on occupational safety and health. It reports a cluster of five cases of workers with severe pleural and pulmonary disease, which developed within 10–12 months of working at a factory that manufactures and processes polyacrylate and other polymers for use in pharmaceuticals. It is not entirely clear from the report, but it appears that two workers had interstitial lung disease with pneumothorax; one worker had interstitial lung disease associated with severe restrictive impairment; one worker had at least one pneumothorax; and one worker died after developing a symptom complex of fatigue, anorexia, and breathlessness, but no additional medical information was available.
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