Chinese Nanotechnology Study

Fact Sheet

  • While this study has several scientific gaps, including a complete lack of data on the workers’ actual exposures to nanoparticles, it is disturbing in both its health findings and the description of the working conditions that these workers were exposed to for as long as 13 months
  • From what we know, this tragedy could have been avoided by proper industrial hygiene techniques.  The women who became sick and the two who died were spraying paint containing nanoparticles in a very small space with virtually no ventilation and only sporadic use of cotton gauze masks
  • The study’s authors also note that the workers were all “peasants [with] no knowledge of industrial hygiene or possible toxicity from the materials they worked with.”
  • In this country, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health promotes safety training for nanotechnology workers and has developed a proactive risk management system for nanotechnology companies to maximize worker safety. NIOSH conducts on-site field studies to help nanotech companies maintain the safest possible working conditions.
  • Federal health and safety agencies will carefully review the new study as part of their ongoing commitment to environmental, health and safety issues.

Obama Administration on Nanotechnology’s Promise and Safety

  • Nanotechnology is an exciting field of research that has great scientific and economic potential because of its ability to create new materials with novel properties for application in such diverse fields as electronics and computing, alternative energy, and optics.
  • The Obama Administration is committed to supporting significant research into the potential environmental, health, and safety (EHS) impacts of nanotechnology, and has requested a record-breaking $88 million for such research in FY 2010.
  • All told, the United States has spent more on nanotech-related environmental, health, and safety research than all other countries in the world combined.