Nanotechnology Safety & Health Repository

To promote awareness of nanotechnology safety and health issues, the Industrial Hygiene/Occupational Safety Special Interest Group (IH/OS SIG) collects and distributes information for workers at U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sites. Revisit this Web site regularly for more information from DOE facilities, other agencies, and private companies, as well as DOE policy and news on nanotechnology.

“Nanoparticles are not new. Natural nanoparticles are widespread, including sea salt crystals and wind-blown dust. Many other nanoparticles in our environment are produced as byproducts of combustion, such as diesel exhaust particles or candle soot. "Take a breath in the average office today, and you will inhale about 30 million nanoparticles!”(Human Subjects Risk in New Technologies. In: DOE Protecting Human Subjects Newsletter, No. 13. Spring 2006)

General Information

Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications according to the National Technology Initiative.

Nanotechnology involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter at this length scale. At the nanoscale, the physical, chemical, and biological properties of materials differ in fundamental and valuable ways from the properties of individual atoms and molecules or bulk matter.

Nanotechnology: Societal Implications—Maximizing Benefits for Humanity reflects the views of experts who gathered at a workshop in 2003 to discuss likely impacts of current and future advances in nanoscience and nanotechnology on the economy, quality of life, national security, education, public policy, and society at large.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health brochure, Safe Nanotechnology in the Workplace, addresses the following questions:

  1. Are nanoparticles hazardous to workers?
  2. How can workers be exposed?
  3. Can nanoparticles be measured?
  4. Can worker exposures be controlled?

This report, Nanotechnology-Over a Decade of Progress and Innovation, highlights FDA’s advancements in the field of nanotechnology since it released its last report in 2007, and its role in advancing the public health through its regulation of products within its jurisdiction that involve the application of nanotechnology.

Nanoscience and the Department of Energy's Missions

Research at the nanoscale level will benefit all of the DOE missions – advancing the energy, economic and national security of the United States, promoting scientific and technological innovation and ensuring environmental cleanup of the national nuclear weapons complex. Many of the missions can be accomplished only by achieving the level of understanding and control that nanoscale science will make possible.

Read more detail about the Department of Energy's nanoscience mission here.

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Occupational Health

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Safety and Health

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Best Practices

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Plans and Procedures

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Training Resources

Please visit the DOE TSL Index of the IHOS SIG Website for regular training related resources. Any training related videos can be found at the Video webpage of the IHOS SIG Website.

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Additional Information

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These pages were developed under contract number DE-AC05-06OR23100 between Oak Ridge Associated Universities and the U.S. Department of Energy. For more information contact Will Artley, IH/OS SIG Coordinator, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, PO Box 117, MS 10, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-0117.

Provision of this Web site by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities/Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORAU/ORISE) does not constitute endorsement of the views expressed or an endorsement or recommendation of specific commercial products, processes, services, manufacturers, or companies mentioned. The opinions and conclusions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of ORAU/ORISE or the IH/OS SIG and their DOE sponsor, DOE AU-11.

The U. S. Government, DOE, or its contractors, including ORAU/ORISE or the IH/OS SIG do not warrant or assume legal responsibility for the completeness and accuracy of the information and data presented on this Web site. Some links are provided to Web sites outside of this site and should not be considered as an official endorsement or verification of the accuracy of their content. Users are subject to the privacy policies of those sites.