National Nanomanufacturing Network: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are moving the issue of safe handling of manufactured nanomaterials forward, step by step.
Step one: Last week the OECD released its database of Research into the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials. This database, seeded with projects from the Woodrow Wilson Center's Inventory of Environmental, Health and Safety Research, captures fundamental information on research projects relevant to the human health and environmental safety of manufactured nanomaterials, such as funding information, project summaries and links, investigator information, and overall outcomes. As a global inventory, the database will help to identify gaps in research initiatives and to direct future collaborative efforts. The database is managed by the OECD's Working Pary on Manufactured Nanomaterials.
Step two: Early this week, NIOSH released an updated version of its Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology document, which summarizes current knowledge on nanoparticle toxicity and workplace safety from peer-reviewed scientific literature, including those studies from NIOSH's own research program. The updated version includes expanded sections on risk managment and interim procedures for controlling exposures, as well as an extended discussion on assessing and characterizing workplace exposure.The updated version reiterates the recommendation for employers to take measures to mitigate occupational exposures to nanoparticles.