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Home > News > Small concerns: nanotech regulations and risk management

December 7th, 2009

Small concerns: nanotech regulations and risk management

Abstract:
Nanomaterials have become a hot topic in the past decade, both for their advantages and hazards. Now The National Science Foundation says the nanotechnology industry could be worth $1 trillion by 2015, and would employ two million workers directly. Both governments and industry are looking at and addressing safety concerns, and determining the next steps for nanomaterial manufacturers and handlers.

Government entities like the EPA and FDA have been struggling to define what nanoscale materials are exactly, "whether they are new chemicals or whether they are just new forms of existing chemicals," says Kristen Kulinowski, executive director of the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN) at Rice University. "That has an impact on how many hoops a company has to jump through," in order to get their product to market.

Governments around the globe have now begun to create regulations and standards for researching and the use of nanomaterials. "We've seen a growing awareness and concern by workers and companies as to whether work-related exposures to nanoparticles bring a risk of occupational illness or injury," says Fred Blosser, public affairs officer of the U.S. National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Source:
spie.org

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