The federal budget for the year 2012 has allotted 2.1 billion dollars to National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), which is a research and development program that does research on modelling, measuring, imaging and manipulation of materials of nanoscale size that ranges between 1 and 100 nm, which is 1 billionth of a meter.
Nanoscale matter is found in volcanic ash, smoke and sea spray and the advances in nanotechnology enables scientists to examine the properties of nanomaterials. Nanomaterials find applications in computing, electronics, food, alternative energy and medicine, therefore companies need to be aware of the safety measures to be implemented during their usage.
The budget allotted to NNI is directed towards the study of environmental, health and safety (EHS) measures and the impact of using nanomaterials. With a lot of companies switching over to the use of nanomaterials in various processes, the need for designing a risk management policy for nanomaterials becomes imperative. In this context, the Environmental Training Center (ETC) of the California Community Colleges is planning to conduct a workshop under the title, "Introduction to Nanomaterials and Occupational Health”. The duration of the workshop was eight hours and was hosted by the Mission College in Santa Clara on the 24th of May 2011. The agenda of the workshop was to review the current EHS knowledge, guidelines for risk management and suggestion of suitable tools for tracking the safety impact of nanomaterials.
Kristen Kulinowski, the director of the International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON), and Bruce Lippy, the director of the National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training conducted the training sessions. The participants include lab managers, occupational medicine professionals and process safety engineers. The training focused on enabling the participants to take advantage of scientific and technological progress in nanotechnology with emphasis on safety measures.