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Options for Occupational Health Surveillance of Workers Potentially Exposed to Engineered Nanoparticles: State of the Science

Schulte, Paul A. PhD; Trout, Douglas MD; Zumwalde, Ralph D. MS; Kuempel, Eileen PhD; Geraci, Charles L. PhD; Castranova, Vincent PhD; Mundt, Diane J. PhD; Mundt, Kenneth A. PhD; Halperin, William E. MD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2008 - Volume 50 - Issue 5 - p 517-526
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31816515f7
Original Articles

Objective: Health authorities, employers, and worker representatives are increasingly faced with making decisions about occupational health surveillance of workers potentially exposed to engineered nanoparticles. This article was developed to identify options that can be considered.

Methods: The published scientific literature on health effects from engineered and incidental nanoparticles and the principles of occupational health surveillance were reviewed to describe possible options and the evidence base for them.

Results: Various options for occupational health surveillance were identified. The options ranged from no action targeted to nanotechnology workers to an approach that includes documentation of the presence of engineered nanoparticles, identification of potentially exposed workers, and general and targeted medical testing.

Conclusions: Although the first priority should be to implement appropriate primary preventive measures, additional efforts to monitor employee health may be warranted. Continued research is needed, and the collection of such information for exposure registries may be useful for future epidemiologic studies.

From the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Drs Schulte, Trout, Kuempel, Geraci, and Castranova, and Mr Zumwalde), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio; ENVIRON International Corporation (Dr Mundt), Amherst, Mass; and University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (Dr Halperin), NJ.

The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Address correspondence to: Paul A. Schulte, PhD, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4676 Columbia Parkway, MS-C14, Cincinnati, OH 45226-1998; E-mail:

©2008The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine