GEH1403:            Emerging Products and Human Health: Characterizing the Potential Risks Posed by Nanoparticles

Speaker:              Ephraim Massawe, PhD


What type of consumer products do you interact with on a daily basis and do they contain nano-particles? What properties might those engineered iron, titanium and carbon nano-particles exhibit that differ from the norm? What type of information do environmental health professionals need to prevent exposures that might cause negative biological effects? This session will give you the facts so you can adapt to the rapidly changing intersection of health and environment.



In less than four decades, nanotechnology has emerged with impacts on rapid technological and social transformation of our lives.  Nanotechnology is defined as the manipulation of matter at or near-atomic and molecular scales to produce nano-particles that have unique and novel chemical and physical properties intended for specific functions.  There are many commercial applications of these emerging nano-particles including electricity, clothing, and electronics. While this is a good thing, there is a potential for negative biological activities in humans that are significantly different from those exhibited by materials of similar chemical composition, of say, fine to bulk-size materials.  Therefore, by characterizing the physical and chemical properties of engineered nano-particles at various life cycle stages can provide information necessary for their oversight.

This presentation focuses on understanding a) various forms of engineered nanoparticles v. chemical and physical characteristics and the potential risks posed by these emerging materials; a nanoinformatics framework for collecting and collating information necessary for the oversight of engineered nano-particles; and the state of knowledge to prevent and control of occupational and environmental exposures to engineered nano-particles.

There exists an enormous amount of information on the toxicity of engineered nano-particles.  This information can be extrapolated to predict human and environmental health effects; and can clearly support the functions of environmental health specialists.