IEST publishes nanotechnology safety guidance

Aims to minimise risks for cleanroom workers involved in nanotechnology research and production

The Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST), a US-based technical association focused on cleanrooms and nanotechnology facilities, has published guidance to minimise risk for people involved in nanotechnology research and production.

IEST-RP-NANO205.1: Nanotechnology Safety: Application of Prevention through Design Principles to Nanotechnology Facilities provides facility design information and complements IEST-RP-NANO200: Planning of Nanoscale Science and Technologies Facilities: Guidelines for Design, Construction, and Start-up.

The Recommended Practice (RP) addresses safety issues relating to incoming products, processes and byproducts.

Methods of risk mitigation are suggested and facility design and response systems are described for normal operation as well as external and internal emergency.

The document would be useful to all those involved in facilities that develop or use nanomaterials, the IEST said.

This document combines the principles of Prevention through Design with the fast-growing field of nanotechnology

John Weaver, Chair of the IEST Working Group which developed IEST-RP-NANO205, and Strategic Facilities Officer at Birck Nanotechnology Centre, Perdue University, US, said: 'This is the first document of its type. It combines the principles of Prevention through Design — a major strategic initiative of NIOSH [National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health] — with the fast-growing field of nanotechnology.'

The document lays out a blueprint for use in the design of intrinsically safe facilities as well as the safe operation of those facilities.

Ahmad Soueid, of HDR Architecture, and a nanotechnology facility design expert and member of the working group, added: 'IEST-RP-NANO205 was compiled by a group of experts with years of hands-on experience in dealing with the safety aspects of operating nanotechnology facilities.

'While there are other resources available that deal with laboratory and cleanroom safety in general, this document adds another dimension with its specific focus on facilities that face the challenge of handling, production, growth, and development of nanomaterials.'

IEST said IEST-RP-NANO205 solves an unmet need for a single document that pulls together safe practices from a variety of fields and applies them to nanotechnology facilities – both for research and manufacturing.

Weaver added: 'This document points the reader to relevant documents and information sources that currently exist. This prevents ‘reinvention of the wheel’ while providing unique guidance when necessary.'

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