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Nanomaterial Risk Assessment and Management Experiences Related to Worker Health Under the Toxic Substances Control Act

Sayre, Philip PhD; Prothero, Scott MS; Alwood, James BS

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: June 2011 - Volume 53 - Issue - p S98–S102
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31821b1bdd
Assessing Risk: Original Article

Objectives: This paper examined the data and experiences gathered through the review of over 100 nanomaterial submissions for industrial nanomaterials, and what these data indicate for worker health at industrial facilities where nanomaterials are synthesized, and/or incorporated into final products for the marketplace.

Methods: The types of nanomaterials, their uses, potential health effects and worker exposures, methods for examining worker and general population exposures, and risk management actions taken under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) prior to their manufacture are summarized.

Results: There is a diversity of nanomaterials are currently entering the marketplace, but there are certain materials reviewed under TSCA such as carbon-based nanomaterials and metal oxides that are more likely to be commercialized than others. There are health and monitoring data that have been received by EPA that are useful in determining potential risks, and risk management approaches such as limiting uses of the nanomaterials and embedding nanomaterials in polymer matrices that reduce concerns for worker exposures. Certain EPA data gathering tools such as those used to collect nanomaterial use and worker exposure information, and screening level approaches for estimating worker exposures are useful and could be enhanced to better estimate worker risks.

Conclusions: The data and experiences with nanomaterials under TSCA should prove useful when considering worker exposure registries, medical surveillance and epidemiological research.

From the Risk Assessment Division (Dr Sayre), Economics and Exposure Technical Division (Mr Prothero), Chemical Control Division (Mr Alwood) U.S. EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention & Toxics, Washington, DC

Address correspondence to: Philip Sayre, PhD, Risk Assessment Division, Room 6308CC/EPA East Building, U.S. EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention & Toxics, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW (MC 7403), Washington, DC 20460 (

This article does not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The opinions expressed within this article reflect the views of the authors.

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