International Council on Nanotechnology studies occupational safeguards

Mar 15, 2006

The International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON) has awarded $55,000 to researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara to conduct a "Review of Best Practices for Nanotechnology Safety."

ICON, a coalition of academic, industrial, governmental and civil society organizations, is administered by Rice University's Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN).

"ICON is working to document current practices for identifying, managing and reducing risks – across all lifecycle phases – for the production, handling, use and disposal of nanomaterials," said Kristen Kulinowski, executive director of CBEN. "Our goal is to identify the safest way to work with nanomaterials, and to do that we need to identify the best approaches in use today by industries that are already developing and using nanomaterials."

The best practices initiative is intended to help companies manage potential nanotechnology risks with more certainty. ICON also hopes the initiative will help inform risk management efforts that are underway at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies.

The project leader at UCSB is Patricia Holden, professor of environmental microbiology. The UCSB team includes Magali Delmas, assistant professor of business policy, Richard Appelbaum, professor of sociology and global and international studies, and Barbara Herr Harthorn, research anthropologist, PI, and co-director of UCSB's NSF Center for Nanotechnology in Society (CNS-UCSB).

Work at UCSB will proceed in two stages. The first involves a comprehensive review of all existing "best practice" development efforts. In the second stage, the researchers will interview a broad range of companies internationally to determine current practices. One of their major goals will be "to identify critical needs for the standardization and implementation of safe practices in the nanotechnology industry in different parts of the globe." ICON plans to make the results of the project public by the end of the year.

Dr. Harthorn commented, "The ICON-funded study will provide essential data on current nanotech industry standards and practices for enhancing the environmental and health safety of nanomaterials. By providing comparative data on companies in the US, Europe and Asia, it will help shed light on new safety models as they are being implemented and also help identify where they are most needed. This work will provide important baseline data for NSF-funded research the CNS-UCSB is planning on risk and society issues, and we are delighted to partner with the UCSB Bren School of Environmental Management."

Source: Rice University

Explore further: Researchers obtain first direct observation of facet formation in nanocubes

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Green engineering for waste management

Apr 01, 2014

"Green engineering" is based on the idea of designing, selling and using processes and products that are technically and economically viable while, at the same time, minimizing pollution, as well as health ...

New principle for self-assembly of patterned nanoparticles

Nov 07, 2013

Animal and plant cells are prominent examples of how nature constructs ever-larger units in a targeted, preprogrammed manner using molecules as building blocks. In nanotechnology, scientists mimic this 'bottom-up' ...

Recommended for you

Cut flowers last longer with silver nanotechnology

21 hours ago

Once cut and dunked in a vase of water, flowers are susceptible to bacterial growth that shortens the length of time one has to enjoy the blooms. A few silver nanoparticles sprinkled into the water, might be the answer to ...

Relaxing DNA strands by using nano-channels

Aug 20, 2014

A simple and effective way of unravelling the often tangled mass of DNA is to 'thread' the strand into a nano-channel. A study carried out with the participation of the International School for Advanced Studies ...

Сalculations with nanoscale smart particles

Aug 19, 2014

Researchers from the Institute of General Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences and MIPT have made an important step towards ...

User comments : 0