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Posted: August 2, 2007

Nanorisk newsletter: Collaboration is key to protecting nanotechnology workers

(Nanowerk News) Collaboration is key to protecting nanotechnology workers. This is the title of the feature article in the August issue of our nanoRISK newsletter. Following up on the previous issue's report on nanotechnology in the workplace, we have interviewed three companies – Altairnano, Quantum Sphere, and QD Vision – that have worked with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to assess and improve their worker safety programs.
"We were receiving a steady stream of questions from industry and academia regarding what we knew about the hazards of nanomaterials," Charles L. Geraci, Branch Chief at (NIOSH and Co-Coordinator of the NIOSH Nanotechnology Field Team, tells nanoRISK. "People were coming to NIOSH for recommendations; we knew we needed to have a better understanding of the nature of workplace exposure during research, production and use."
The greatest number of requests for visits has come from small organizations (start-ups, academic research labs and government agency labs), most of whom are new and have little history in occupational safety and health. "They are looking to NIOSH to provide guidance on how to move this technology forward in a responsible manner in the face of uncertainty regarding the hazard of these new materials," says Geraci. In other words, he says, they are looking for help and guidance in "doing the right thing."
The August issue of the nanoRISK newsletter takes a look at what Altairnano, Quantum Sphere, and QD Vision, three of the handful of organizations to take advantage of NIOSH’s field team visits, are doing with regard to protecting the safety of their workers involved in handling nanomaterials.
As always, this issue of nanoRISK includes numerous briefs on papers, initiatives, and upcoming events.
Nanowerk’s nanoRISK newsletter provides a wealth of risk-related nanotechnology information, compiled in one comprehensive, easy-to-read newsletter, on scientific research, regulatory updates and informed opinion about the risks posed by engineered nanoparticles and what is being done about them. A free copy of the premier edition of the bimonthly print newsletter is available at www.nanorisk.org.
“This newsletter is not about stopping nanotechnology or scaring people,” says Michael Berger, nanoRISK editor. “It is about providing a wealth of nanotechnology information, compiled in one comprehensive, easy-to-read newsletter, on scientific research, regulatory updates and informed opinion about the risks posed by engineered nanoparticles and what is being done about them.”
nanoRISK supports the debate on a very real and immediate issue – the fact that engineered nanoparticles are already finding their way from laboratories into commercial products and yet nobody really knows the effects they could have on living beings and the environment. Current toxicological and eco-toxicological risk assessment methodologies are not suited to the potential hazards associated with engineered nanoparticles.
Contents of previous and the current issue are available on the newsletter’s website.
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