How can nanobiotechnology oversight advance science and industry: examples from environmental, health, and safety studies of nanoparticles (nano-EHS)
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- Wang, J., Asbach, C., Fissan, H. et al. J Nanopart Res (2011) 13: 1373. doi:10.1007/s11051-011-0236-z
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Nanotechnology has great potential to transform science and industry in the fields of energy, material, environment, and medicine. At the same time, more concerns are being raised about the occupational health and safety of nanomaterials in the workplace and the implications of nanotechnology on the environment and living systems. Studies on environmental, health, and safety (EHS) issues of nanomaterials have a strong influence on public acceptance of nanotechnology and, eventually, affect its sustainability. Oversight and regulation by government agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play significant roles in ensuring responsible and environmentally friendly development of nanotechnology. The EHS studies of nanomaterials can provide data and information to help the development of regulations and guidelines. We present research results on three aspects of EHS studies: physico-chemical characterization and measurement of nanomaterials; emission, exposure, and toxicity of nanomaterials; and control and abatement of nanomaterial releases using filtration technology. Measurement of nanoparticle agglomerates using a newly developed instrument, the Universal NanoParticle Analyzer (UNPA), is discussed. Exposure measurement results for silicon nanoparticles in a pilot scale production plant are presented, as well as exposure measurement and toxicity study of carbon nanotubes (CNTs). Filtration studies of nanoparticle agglomerates are also presented as an example of emission control methods.