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February 15th, 2010

Safety practices lax in nanomaterials research labs

Abstract:
In this week's Nature, researchers presented a survey of university and public laboratories showing that lab workers are not using adequate safety equipment when working with nanomaterials. As a lab rat who has worked at two universities and visited many other labs, I am not surprised to hear that some researchers are taking shortcuts with their personal safety, but the magnitude and ubiquity of the problem detailed in this survey was surprising.

The survey was sent to researchers based on recent publications with keywords like "nanoparticle" or "nanowire," and 240 people responded. Of the respondents, 40 percent were from Europe, 37 percent were from Asia, 18 percent were from North America, and 5 percent were from elsewhere. Almost 90 percent of respondents either were not aware or believed that no federal or state/local regulations existed for handling nanomaterials. Nearly half said that their lab/university had no nanomaterial handling guidelines and over a quarter did not know or were unaware of whether their lab/university had specific regulations.

Source:
arstechnica.com

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