Paul A. Schulte, Ph.D, Director, Education and Information Division and Co-Manager of the Nanotechnology Research Center, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH USA.
For the last 40 years the focus of my research has been the protection of workers. This is still my interest. I have done this in diverse areas of standards development, hazard evaluation, epidemiology, risk assessment, communication, and education. For the last 13 years in leading the Nanotechnology Research Center I have promoted the utilization and development of quantitative risk assessment.
Keynote – Occupational Risk Assessment of Nanomaterial Exposure
Responsible development of a technology, such as nanotechnology requires the development of guidance to protect people and the environment from adverse effects and unintended consequences. With regard to workers — the first people exposed to nanotechnology — occupational exposure limits and attendant risk management guidelines are the critical components of prevention and protection. The driving activity for development of these preventive components is risk assessment, and more particularly, quantitative risk assessment (QRA). Quantitative and semi-quantitative risk assessment approaches have been applied to nanomaterials and resultant Occupational Exposure Limits have been issued.
In this presentation the history of QRA with regard to nanomaterials will be reviewed and the issues that have arisen will be identified and discussed. For a few single nanoparticle substance risk assessments there have generally been limited, but adequate data, on which to conduct the assessment. However, for the myriad of nanomaterials in commerce or anticipated to be in commerce there are practically no data. Consequently various categorical approaches have been developed. These will be compared and contrasted. Finally, new generations of nanomaterials are in development. Questions of how risk assessment might be approached for these new nanomaterials will be addressed.