As general awareness around nanotechnology and the use of nanoparticles continues to increase, so do the resources for nanoparticle safety. The general definition of nanomaterials is materials that have a length scale between 1 and 100 nanometers. The unique properties that materials of this size exhibit present unique safety concerns. In an effort to address these unique safety concerns, various agencies are working to develop recommendations and resources as our collective knowledge increases.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) maintains a website on nanotechnology, which is a great resource for nanomaterial safety considerations. In March of 2016, NIOSH published a guide for small to mid-size companies with recommendations to develop a nanotechnology safety program. The EPA and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have worked together to conduct research on the effects of nanomaterials, which is shared on the EPA’s website on research on nanomaterials. OSHA has also developed resources, including a fact sheet on working safely with nanomaterials.
Most recently, The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the Commission on the European Union Observatory for Nanomaterials signed an agreement to work together to provide better access to understandable information on nanomaterials.
If research with nanomaterials is occurring at your facility, be sure to take advantage of the resources available to develop a comprehensive nanomaterial safety program.