An Online, Community-Driven Wiki for Information About Safe Handling of Nanomaterials

Published on June 1, 2009 at 8:02 PM

The Rice University-based International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON) today introduced the GoodNanoGuide, an online, community-driven wiki for information about the safe handling of nanomaterials.

The beta version of the GoodNanoGuide can be found at www.GoodNanoGuide.org.

Fostered by ICON, the GoodNanoGuide is a highly collaborative, interactive resource by and for the occupational safety and nanotechnology communities, law and industry.

The GoodNanoGuide is a practical tool for people who handle nanomaterials as well as an online repository of safety protocols. It has been developed by experts from the worlds of nanotechnology, occupational safety and business and is governed by an implementation committee from North America and Europe.

All GoodNanoGuide content is freely available via the Internet. Visitors may add their comments by becoming "Community Members," and experts may contribute and edit protocols by becoming "Expert Providers."

“Governmental agencies and occupational researchers are generating a lot of good information about how to handle nanomaterials safely,” said ICON Director Kristen Kulinowski, a faculty fellow in chemistry at Rice and executive director of the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology. “The GoodNanoGuide points to and supplements these resources with specific protocols that can be used by workers in any setting where they are being handled.”

More than two years in development, the GoodNanoGuide was inspired by a challenge set forth at the International Conference on Nanotechnology, Occupational and Environmental, Health and Safety: Research and Practice, in Cincinnati in December 2006. That same year, an ICON survey of occupational practices for handling nanomaterials revealed a great need for improved communication about best practices.

"Progress in addressing the occupational health implications of engineered nanomaterials requires the open sharing of information and the development and dissemination of good guidance," said Charles L. Geraci, chief of the Document Development Branch in the Education and Information Division of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and coordinator of NIOSH's nanotechnology cross-sector program under the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA). "We are pleased to see international forums of the sort offered by the ICON-sponsored GoodNanoGuide and the opportunity they provide in particular for helping to disseminate NIOSH's research and recommendations, and to make users aware of our resources."

The international nature of the GoodNanoGuide is important to its success, said Steve Hankin, director of operations for SAFENANO, the United Kingdom's premier independent resource on nanotechnology hazard and risk. "SAFENANO is delighted to be involved with establishing and sustaining the GoodNanoGuide," Hankin said. "The initiative complements related nanotechnology risk activities in the U.K., Europe and North America. SAFENANO sees the GoodNanoGuide as an exciting means of capturing, appraising and cascading good practice -- on an international basis -- to contribute to the knowledge base of nanotechnology safety."

Financial support for the development of the GoodNanoGuide beta site was provided by ICON, nanoAlberta, British Columbia Nanotechnology Alliance-Nanotech BC, Industry Canada, Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail and NanoQuebec.

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