Nanobiomonitoring
and Surveillance
Opportunities to Confirm the Protection of Nanomaterial Workers
BY MARTIN D. BARRIE, JOHN BAKER, MARK D. HOOVER, AND CHARLES L. GERACI
Over the last decade, advances in nanotechnology and in the many industries that apply it have led to increases in the number of workers and consumers potentially exposed to engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) and their aggregates and agglomerates. Among the industries where nanotechnology is prominent are the manufacturing of surfaces and coatings, electronics, medical and healthcare products, food, clothing, cosmetics, building materials, and household items. Detailed health risk characterizations from exposures to ENMs are limited. However, some evidence for the potential adverse health effects associated with such exposures has been derived from air pollution epidemiological investigations of fine and ultrafine particulate matter and from studies in biological systems involving cells, tissues, and laboratory animals. That growing body of work supports the industrial hygiene paradigm to anticipate and recognize, evaluate, and control and confirm the protection of workers from nanomaterial-associated risks. The use of biological monitoring to assess nanomaterial exposure and effect, also called nanobiomonitoring, offers an additional opportunity to evaluate, control, and confirm worker protection. Two critical challenges are how to use nanobiomonitoring to understand the progression from exposure to response (Figure 1) and how to apply biological markers (biomarkers) of exposure and biomarkers of effect in the surveillance of nanomaterial-related hazards, exposures, and medical responses (Figure 2).
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