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From small firms to large enterprises, additive manufacturing technologies are changing the way products are made. This transformation in industry may also have health and safety implications for the workers using these technologies.
The Nanotechnology Research Center (NTRC) of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is using both laboratory and field research to investigate the potential hazards of these technologies. Laboratory studies by NIOSH scientists have shown that additive manufacturing processes may emit particulate and compounds known to be hazardous, and that these emissions vary substantially based on the particular processes or materials employed. NIOSH’s field team conducting research at partners’ sites found that additive manufacturing processes and support tasks created opportunities for exposure to hazardous materials. It was also shown that both established and novel risk management techniques can control exposures. This research is ongoing to develop the knowledge base and best practices to make the 21stCentury American worker is safer than any of their predecessor.
Dr. Gary Roth is an associate service fellow and health scientist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. He is part of the Nanotechnology Research Center, which specializes in the occupational safety and health implications
and applications of nanotechnology. Dr. Roth focuses on the application of nanomaterials and other advanced materials in advanced manufacturing, specifically additive manufacturing. Additionally, Dr. Roth participates in developing, drafting, and editing of official guidance on materials and processes of interest; and is a member of working groups focused on robotics, healthy work design, and synthetic biology. Dr. Roth is a graduate of the University at Albany, where he obtained a doctorate in Nanoscale Science and Engineering and master’s in environmental health and toxicology.