Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter on a near-atomic scale to produce new structures, materials and devices. Nanoparticles (NPs), the building blocks of nanotechnology, are the objects with at least one dimension smaller than 100 nanometer. Exciting achievements based on nanotechnology and nanomedicine await us in the future; yet there are many challenges to get it right and recognize and avoid potential risks associated with these new developments where nanotoxicology will have a crucial role. Risk assessment involves an estimation of the potential for exposure and characterization of hazard. Potential routes of NPs exposure include inhalation, dermal, oral, and in the case of biomedical applications, parenteral. Toxicity resulting from NPs exposure could occur at the various portals of entry, such as the lungs and skin, or at distant sites. Exposure to nanomaterials could occur during their development, manufacture, use, or following disposal.
Occupational safety and health (OSH) concerns are receiving considerable attention in nanoscience and nanotechnology research and development. Policymakers and others have urged that research on nanotechnologyâs EHS implications be developed alongside scientific research in the nanotechnology domain rather than subsequent to applications. Occupational physicians would thus be required to keep abreast and update themselves on toxicological and health and safety developments in this growing industry. There is also the need to look beyond the factory fence to consider safety and environmental impact of NPs containing products at all stages of the life cycle.
Last date updated on June, 2014