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General Principles of Medical Surveillance: Implications for Workers Potentially Exposed to Nanomaterials

Trout, Douglas B. MD, MHS

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue - p S22–S24
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31821b1e45
Medical Surveillance: Original Article

Objective: As potential occupational exposure to nanomaterials becomes more prevalent, it is important that the principles of medical surveillance be considered for workers in the nanotechnology industry.

Methods: The principles of medical surveillance are reviewed to further the discussion of occupational health surveillance for workers exposed to nanomaterials.

Results: Because of the rapid evolution of nanotechnology, information may not be available to make a well-informed determination of all factors needed to evaluate risk of health effects from occupational exposure to nanomaterials.

Conclusion: Every workplace dealing with engineered nanomaterials should conduct hazard and exposure assessments as part of an overall surveillance needs assessment for nanotechnology workers. In workplaces where risk is felt to be present, or at least cannot be ruled out, initiation of medical surveillance is prudent to protect workers' health.

From the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Address correspondence to: Douglas B. Trout, MD, MHS, Associate Director for Science, DSHEFS, NIOSH, R-12, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226; E-mail:

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.

Copyright © 2011 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine