By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton on October 19, 2016
On September 27, 2016, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC) met, and its discussion included engineering controls and nanomaterials. Kevin H. Dunn, Sc.D., CIH, a NIOSH Division of Applied Research and Technology (DART) mechanical engineer and member of NIOSH’s Nanotechnology Research Center, provided an update to the BSC on NIOSH’s evaluations, findings, recommendations, and guidance for reducing occupational exposures to nanomaterials through engineering controls. NIOSH recently posted Dunn’s presentation online. According to the presentation, NIOSH has a good understanding of how exposures occur and how to control them. NIOSH needs to continue to conduct field studies to identify new processes and materials, however. The question of whether NIOSH should be doing any laboratory work on quantifying control effectiveness was raised. In addition, NIOSH needs to have a better understanding of how to communicate with its target audience. Future plans include developing three additional Workplace Design Solutions (WDS) on common nanotech tasks/processes, including reactor operations (harvesting and cleaning); powder collection/dumping (large bag dumping and powder packing); and large scale material handling.