Safe Use of Nanomaterials
What are Nanomaterials?
Nanomaterials are materials having one or more external dimensions, or an internal structure of 100 nm or less, which could exhibit novel characteristics compared to the same material without nanoscale features.*
Are there special risks associated with nanomaterials?
Unusual physical, chemical, and biological properties are associated with materials at the nanoscale. Many of these properties are useful, but they can also change toxicity and increase the potential for negative health effects in the body.
How do I work safely with nanomaterials?
See the “Working Safely with Nanomaterials in the Laboratory” information sheet for general information. Each lab should develop specific standard operating procedures for work involving nanomaterials – see OESO’s SOP Template for Nanomaterials for more information.
Where can I find more information?
Employees working with nanomaterials may call OESO-Occupational Safety and Hygiene at 684-5996 for more information. Additionally, these websites may be useful:
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health(NIOSH) Nanotechnology page
- NIOSH publication on Working with Engineered Nanomaterials in Research Laboratories
- OSHA Nanotechnology resources
- OSHA Fact Sheet on Working Safely with Nanomaterials
- Good Nano Guide
- The Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT),based at Duke
- National Nanotechnology Initiative – Environment, Health, and Safety
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) page on Nanotechnology and Nanomaterials Research
*From T. Schneider, et al., “Evaluation and control of occupational health risks from nanoparticles”, TemaNord 2007-581, p 14 (2007).