Kreider ML, Burns AM, DeRose GH, Panko JM. 2013. Protecting workers from risks associated with nanomaterials: Part I — Exposure assessment. Occup Safety Health 82:7.
Nanotechnology is a developing field with potential applications in a wide variety of industries. Currently, nanomaterials R&D is far outpacing research regarding potential health risks associated with exposure to these newly developed materials. Although there is no consensus definition for nanomaterials, several groups have defined nanomaterials as materials that are or contain features with at least one dimension in the nanoscale (100 nanometers or smaller). Recent literature has suggested that nanomaterials may have unique toxicological properties associated with their small size that may cause different or more potent toxicities than the traditional non-nano form. For example, NIOSH has established a separate recommended exposure limit (REL) for nano-titanium dioxide (TiO2) based on its unique toxicity when compared to the non-nano form. In addition to the nano size dimension, the unique shapes of some nanomaterials may also cause different toxicity than their non-nano counterparts. For instance, carbon nanotubes (CNT) have been proposed to cause a mesothelioma-like pathology upon interaction with human tissue that is not associated with other carbon particles.