CINCINNATI—Hundreds of scientists and business people will gather in Cincinnati next week to discuss health and safety implications of nanoparticles and nanomaterials, an emerging technology that scientists and health care professionals are just beginning to understand.
Nanoparticles are microscopic particles engineered to perform specific actions in the body and in manufactured products. The National Science Foundation estimates that by 2015 nanotechnology applications in medications and consumer products will have a more than $1 trillion impact on the global economy and will employ 2 million workers.
The Cincinnati meeting, the International Conference on Nanotechnology, Occupation Health and Environmental Health and Safety: Research to Practice, will be hosted by the University of Cincinnati (UC) and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) from Monday, Dec. 4, through Thursday, Dec. 7, at the Duke Energy Center, 525 Vine St. It is one in a series of government-sponsored summits aimed at bringing prominent nanotechnology researchers and industry leaders together to address the potential health and occupational risk factors associated with nanomaterials.
Researchers believe nanotechnology applications—such as tumor-targeting nanosensors and new drug therapies—may help prevent, detect and treat human diseases, but they may also lead to unintended health risks.
Currently, the health effects of the nanoparticle life cycle—starting when the particle is manufactured up to when it is disposed of—are not well understood.
“Nanotechnology is an emerging science, so we still have a lot of research to do before we fully understand its potential health and safety implications,” explains Judy Jarrell, EdD, professor of environmental health at UC. “We need to know what happens after these products are used and disposed of, so we can identify and control any harmful effects they may have on humans or the environment.”
Guest speakers will discuss the latest scientific research on how nanoparticles enter the body and the correlating health effects, as well as current nanotechnology practices and how workplace exposures can be assessed and controlled. Speakers will also address the legal and regulatory ramifications of nanotechnology.
“For scientists,” says John Howard, MD, director of NIOSH, “this is a rare opportunity to meet in a dedicated forum to discuss new information, research strategies and pathways for moving research to practice. For practitioners, the conference will offer the latest insights into interim best practices for managing nanomaterials in the workplace and controlling exposures.”
Anyone interested in the potential health and safety effects of nanotechnology—including scientists, industry representatives and clinicians—can attend the conference.
Registration costs $295 for all four days, or $195 for a single day. Reservations can be made by calling (513) 558-1810 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For full conference details, visit www.uc.edu/noehs.
Conference sponsors include the University of Cincinnati NIOSH Education & Research Center, U.S. Air Force Office for Scientific Research, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the National Science Foundation, The Ohio State University, Ohio University and TSI.