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Home > Press > ICON Issues Review of Nanotechnology Practices

Broad-based Council Collates Information on Occupational Safeguards

ICON Issues Review of Nanotechnology Practices

Houston, TX | Posted on October 18, 2006

The International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON) today issued a comprehensive review of existing efforts to develop "best practices" for handling nanomaterials in the workplace. The report can be found at The work was performed by researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) as part of a two-phase project to catalogue how industry is managing the potential occupational safety risks posed by nanomaterials.

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

The Phase 1 report, Current Knowledge and Practices regarding Environmental Health and Safety in the Nanotechnology Workplace, offers a review and analysis of existing efforts to develop "best practices." This report finds that efforts to catalogue workplace practices have not systematically documented current environment, health and safety practices in a variety of workplace settings and geographies. Moreover, it finds that some existing documents are not publicly available.

In the second phase of this project, the researchers interviewed a range of U.S. and international firms to produce an international snapshot of workplace practices in nanotechnology industries. ICON plans to issue a report of those findings Nov. 13.

"This first report shows the need for better information about how industries are dealing with the unknowns about nanomaterials," said ICON director Kristen Kulinowski. "The phase-two survey will shed light on existing practices so that a global dialogue can move forward on safe handling practices."

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).


About ICON:
The International Council on Nanotechnology is a multi-stakeholder group whose mission is to assess, communicate, and reduce nanotechnology's environmental and health risks while maximizing its societal benefit. Our efforts are founded on the belief that partnership activities between governments, industry, academia and non-governmental organizations are the key to an environmentally responsible nanotechnology industry.

For more information, please click here

About CBEN:
The Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology is a National Science Foundation Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center dedicated to developing sustainable nanotechnologies that improve human health and the environment. Located at Rice University in Houston, CBEN is a leader in ensuring that nanotechnology develops responsibly and with strong public support.

For more information, please click here

About Rice University:
Rice University is consistently ranked one of America's best teaching and research universities. It is distinguished by its: size: 2,850 undergraduates and 1,950 graduate students; selectivity: 10 applicants for each place in the freshman class; resources: an undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio of 6-to-1, and the fifth largest endowment per student among American universities; residential college system, which builds communities that are both close-knit and diverse; and collaborative culture, which crosses disciplines, integrates teaching and research, and intermingles undergraduate and graduate work. Rice's wooded campus is located in the nation's fourth largest city and on America's South Coast.

For more information, please click here

Jade Boyd
(713) 348-6778

Copyright © Rice University

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