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Selected Category: Nanotechnology

Nickel Nanoparticles: A Case of Sensitization Associated with Occupational Exposure

Categories: Nanotechnology

 

In an article published online May 8, 2014 by the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, researchers W. Shane Journeay, Ph.D., M.D., and Rose H. Goldman, M.D., MPH, report the case of a worker who developed sensitization to nickel when working with nickel nanoparticle powder.

According to the details of the case presented by Journeay and Goldman: “A 26-year-old female chemist formulated polymers and coatings usually using silver ink particles.  When she later began working with nickel nanoparticle powder weighed out and handled on a lab bench with no protective measures, she developed throat irritation, nasal congestion, ‘post nasal drip,’ facial flushing, and new skin reactions to her earrings and belt buckle which were temporally related to working with the nanoparticles.”The abstract continues, “Subsequently she was found to have a positive reaction to nickel on the T.R.U.E. patch test, and a normal range FEV1 that increased by 16% post bronchodilator.”

Journeay and Goldman add valuable new scientific evidence to the ongoing base of knowledge about the need for a proactive approach to addressing potential occupational health and safety implications of nanomaterials in the burgeoning global nanotechnology industry.   Case studies by alert clinicians are important to NIOSH and its partners in assessing risks posed by occupational exposure to nanomaterials, and in making recommendations for appropriate risk-management practices. 

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.

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