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Selected Category: Nanotechnology

Workers Memorial Day 2014

Categories: Emergency Response/Public Sector, Nanotechnology, Total Worker Health

Workers Memorial Day, April 28, reminds us that every death, injury, or illness on the job represents a human tragedy.  Behind each statistic is the loss of a loved one’s life, the diminution or loss of a father’s or mother’s ability to provide for family needs, or a medical crisis that can have lifelong consequences.

Workers Memorial Day has been observed in the U.S. since 1989.  In those 25 years, which span the end of one century and the beginning of another, many things have changed in our society.  New generations of men and women have entered the workforce.  New industries have emerged.  New technologies and demographic trends have transformed the economy.

The History and Future of NIOSH Morgantown

Categories: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Mining, Motor Vehicle Safety, Nanotechnology, Personal Protective Equipment, Respiratory Health, Safety and Health Data, Violence

The state-of-the-art NIOSH Morgantown facility opened in 1996.

To commemorate Workers Memorial Day, NIOSH is hosting a week of blogs with a new post each day ending on Monday, April 28th.  To start us off, we will highlight the past and look to the future with a retrospective on the history of occupational safety and health research and NIOSH in Morgantown, West Virginia.   

Occupational safety and health research has deep roots in Morgantown. In 1967, the Appalachian Laboratory for Occupational Respiratory Diseases (ALFORD) was created within the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) to focus on a prominent problem of the Appalachian occupational environment–”black lung disease” in coal miners. ALFORD’s director was Dr. W. Keith Morgan. The lab was initially housed in the West Virginia University (WVU) Health Sciences Center, and its research focused on detecting black lung disease and assessing its physiological effects. In 1969, work began on a new facility for ALFORD on 4.6 acres of land donated by WVU to PHS. In the same year, the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 (Coal Act) was passed. The Coal Act mandated a range of measures to protect coal miners, including limits on coal mine dust exposures and a program providing medical screening with chest radiographs to coal miners at operators’ expense.

Controlling Exposures to Workers Who Make or Use Nanomaterials

Categories: Engineering Control, Manufacturing, Nanotechnology

 
 
 
 
 

A simple hood capturing powder from a mixing tank in a nanomaterial production facility. Photo by NIOSH.

Background

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.

New Findings on Lung Tumor Formation in Laboratory Mice Exposed to Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes

Categories: Cancer, Manufacturing, Nanotechnology

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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