The U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative defines nanotechnology as the understanding and control of matter at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers (a nanometer is 1 billionth of a meter), where unique phenomena enable novel applications.
Limited information is currently available on the toxicity of a few types of nanoparticles. When research involves work with engineered particles for which no toxicity data is yet available, it is prudent to assume the nanoparticles may be toxic.
The PI must complete a comprehensive risk assessment prior to working with any nanomaterial. The assessment must identify the tasks that may expose laboratory members to nanomaterials. The task must be inventoried and prioritized according to the potential for occupational exposure. Determinants of potential exposure may include dustiness, type of process, quantity of material handled, and duration and frequency of employee exposure.
Resources for Nanotechnology safety:
Review the Chemical Hygiene Plan or Laboratory Safety Manual for a detailed discussion on the proper handling of nanomaterials.