Safe handling of engineered nanomaterials Turning knowledge into practice

By Khara Grieger, Christie Sayes, Jun-Yu Chen, David Ensor, R Jayanty

Protecting occupational health is one of the most important aspects of achieving the responsible development of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs), especially because workers are often among the first to be potentially exposed to these novel materials. Paul Schulte and colleagues in 2014 were the first to provide specific criteria that organizations may use to help guide responsible nanotechnology development. With these criteria in mind, we evaluate how one research institute has responded to the challenge of handling ENMs in a responsible manner. This effort demonstrates the transition from theory to practice in a workplace setting. Using Schulte et al.’s criteria as a basis, we demonstrate the practical underpinnings of managing ENMs in a workplace setting including the ability to (1) anticipate, identify, and track ENMs in the workplace; (2) assess and communicate hazards and risks to workers; (3) manage occupational health risks; and (4) foster the safe development of nanotechnology and the realization of societal and commercial benefits. In addition, we note remaining challenges pertaining to handling of ENMs and identify four critical research needs to close these information gaps design.


Grieger, K., Sayes, C., Chen, J-Y., Ensor, D., & Jayanty, R. (2015). Safe handling of engineered nanomaterials: Turning knowledge into practice. (RTI Press Publication No. OP-0022-1505). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press.

© 2019 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Khara GriegerKhara D. Grieger, PhD, is currently a risk assessor/environmental research scientist in RTI International’s Risk Assessment Program within the Environment, Health, and Safety Division.

Christie SayesChristie M. Sayes, PhD, is a senior scientist with more than 10 years of experience in nanotoxicology, chemistry, and environmental health sciences.

Jun-Yu ChenEric Chen, MS, is a board-certified senior industrial hygienist at RTI International.

David EnsorDavid S. Ensor, Ph.D., is a distinguished fellow at RTI International. He received a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Washington State University. He has a master’s degree in chemical engineering and a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Washington. Dr. Ensor has over 40 years’ experience in the field of aerosol science. He was President of the American Association for Aerosol Research (1988–1990) and is a founding editor of Aerosol Science and Technology. Dr. Ensor is an adjunct professor of environmental engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has published over 90 peer reviewed publications and 200 presentations, and received 7 patents.

R JayantyR.K.M. Jayanty, PhD, ME, is a Senior Fellow and senior program director in the Environmental and Industrial Sciences Division (EISD) at RTI International.

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