Nanotoolkit: Working Safely with Engineered Nanomaterials in Academic Research Settings

The UC Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEIN) has partnered  with environmental health and safety professionals  from institutions of higher education across  the State of California, in addition to representatives from the California  Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the National Institute of  Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to create the California Nanosafety Consortium of Higher  Education. The California Nanosafety Consortium of Higher  Education is focused on developing and promoting safe handling and disposal  of nanomaterials in academic research settings.  

The first project embarked upon by the working group was to create a Nanotoolkit, which describes best  practices for working safely with engineered nanomaterials in academic research  settings.  The UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation supported the creation of the Nanotoolkit. Three graduate students in the UC CEIN, Khadeeja Abdullah (UCLA), Jessica Twining (UCSB), and Adeleye  Adeyemi (UCSB) gathered guidance documents on safe handling of nanomaterials from  different sectors, including academic (19), government (13), industry (4), and  non-profit groups (1). They then summarized the recommended practices from all  the guidance documents in a matrix and cited evidence from the primary scientific literature that either  validated and/or refuted each of the recommendations. Approximately 130  relevant articles were reviewed. Once all the recommendations and evidence from  the literature were gathered and compiled into a matrix, members of the California Nanosafety Consortium of Higher  Education assessed each recommendation. Given that there  were a lot of recommendations, we focused our assessment on the relevant  categories to the research lab setting. Members of the working group rated the  recommendations based on their professional judgment and the evidence from the  literature. Group members also rated recommendations on the need for further  testing for validation; a score of five meant it was a high priority for  testing. From this analysis we identified relevant safe handling practices and  areas of future research.  These “best  practices” were then synthesized into the recommendations provided in the Nanotoolkit.

Click here to view the Nanotoolkit.