Quantifying Exposure to Engineered Nanomaterials (QEEN) from Manufactured Products – Addressing Environmental, Health, and Safety Implications

Subject Area:
NNI Publications and Reports
NNI Workshop Reports
EHS-related Documents
Publication Date: Mar. 28 2016


This report on Quantifying Exposure to Engineered Nanomaterials (QEEN) from Manufactured Products – Addressing Environmental, Health, and Safety Implications is the result of a technical workshop sponsored by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and co-hosted by the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) on July 7 and 8, 2015, in Arlington, VA. The main goals for the workshop were to (1) assess progress in developing tools and methods for quantifying exposure to engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) across the product life cycle, and (2) to identify new research needed to advance nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety exposure assessment for nanotechnology-enabled products. The workshop included an overview of the field by exposure science experts as well as technical sessions highlighting current research on quantifying exposure at different stages of the product life cycle and in different product media and environments. It also included a poster session and several roundtable discussions organized to help participants better understand the challenges and accomplishments thus far in exposure science.

This report summarizes the presentations and discussions of over 200 participants from the exposure science community regarding progress during the last decade in quantifying ENM exposures. Current gaps in characterization tools and techniques are identified and discussed, along with exposure assessment methodologies, and simulation and modeling tools. Finally, the report suggests a path forward that will help bridge exposure science with toxicology and ultimately benefit data-based risk assessment and risk-based decision making for nanotechnology-enabled products.

Nanotechnology Fact

Nanotechnology has the potential to create many new jobs across a variety of sectors. While some jobs, will require an advanced degree, a 2014 study funded by the National Science Foundation points out that 2-yr and 4-yr training with access to continuing and technical education will be sufficient for many of the future positions in nanotechnology, nanomanufacturing, and beyond.                                                                                                             

Previous estimates stated that 6 million nanotechnology jobs will be needed by 2020, with 2 million of those jobs in the United States (Roco, Mirkin, and Hersam 2010). According to the U.S. News/Raytheon analysis, the number of STEM jobs increased 20 percent between 2000 and 2014. Looking ahead, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that between 2012 and 2022, employment in occupations that NSF classifies as science and engineering (S&E) will increase 15 percent. To find out about nanotechnology programs at college and graduate levels, see College and Graduate Programs. If you are interested in 2-year degrees or training programs, see Associate Degrees, Certificates, & Job Info.


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