NDnano Seminar: Molecule to Manufacture to Market


Location: 120 DeBartolo Hall

Molecule to Manufacture to Market: The Scientific Basis for the Responsible Development of Nanotechnology
Charles L. Geraci, Jr., PhD, CIH
Coordinator, Nanotechnology Research Center National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

The rapidly growing number research investigations and proposed applications of nanoscale science and engineering to a broad array of materials is generating new knowledge almost daily. One specific area of knowledge growth is that of understanding the potential hazard posed by the nanoscale form of these materials; both the nanometer form of established materials, such as Titanium dioxide; and novel materials, such as Carbon Nanotubes (CNT). Both types of nanomaterials are now available for investigation, development, and commercialization. Although there is still uncertainty about the potential human health effects of workplace exposure to nanomaterials, the growing body of evidence supports a need for proactive risk management actions that will protect workers. The workers included in this line of thinking range from basic investigators in academic, government, and private research institutes; entrepreneurs demonstrating the proof of concept for applications; material scientists involved with process scale up; manufacturers of nanomaterials; and users of nanomaterials or nano- intermediates to fabricate a nano-enabled products. Nanoscale Titanium Dioxide presents an opportunity to re-evaluate what was previously known about a high-volume industrial chemical, and how its hazard and risk profile has been changed by a move into the nanoscale realm. CNT presents a different picture because it is a ‘new’ material for which the body of toxicology knowledge is growing. Currently there is still uncertainty about the potential health hazards of CNT, and there is particularly high

interest and uncertainty regarding the question of carcinogenicity. While the health effects of these two materials continues to be investigated, including the growing evidence that certain types of CNTs may have carcinogenic potential, there are prudent risk management practices that should be taken to protect workers who face current and future exposures. Areas to help develop effective risk management actions include: review of the current toxicological evidence; physical and chemical properties related to development of disease, including cancer; doses associated with genotoxicity in vitro and in vivo; knowledge of workplace exposures; and specific risk management actions needed to mitigate exposures.

This event is free, open to the public, and intended for a broad audience including undergraduates and non-specialists.

Synopsis for Calendar:
Charles L. Geraci, Jr., PhD, CIH, the Coordinator of the Nanotechnology Research Center at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, will offer a seminar about the science that informs protective action at multiple stages of nanotechnology development. Responsible development of nanotechnology involves science-based ethical decision-making in the face of uncertainty about risk. Taking prudent measures to protect workers is a matter of social justice. This seminar is free, open to the public, and intended for a broad audience including undergraduates and non-specialists.