NANO-SAFETY [08 October 2007]
rated based on inputs from major organizations, like UT Health Sciences Center–Houston. The business aspect from both risk and business controls will be administered by Texas State and its Environmental Risk Management program in consultation with businesses and other organizations. The first activity is to have the interested parties come together to discuss the focus of each of the segments and to identi- fy the steps required for accomplishing the tasks. This step needs to be accomplished by early Spring 2008 at the latest. Once this effort is focused at the university and research institute level, schools fo- cusing on technician level training, like Austin Community College (with a nano scholar program) and Texas State Technical College (with a nano technician program) will participate in the planning for the development of NANO-SAFETY technicians.
4. The business aspect of the manufacture and application of nanotechnology requires an evaluation of the responsibility of the organization for the safety of its workers and products. Businesses must have pro- cedures and plans for NANO-SAFETY. Some existing programs can be expanded and developed to pro- vide the basis for this focus. Recommendation: NANO-SAFETY needs to be available on at least two le- vels. At the corporate level, Risk Management is critical to understand the issues and concerns. The En- vironmental Risk Management Institute at Texas State is currently expanding its program to encompass the issues of nanotechnology. The second level is the development of a program for NANO-SAFETY re- views at companies, laboratories, and medical institutions. This program needs to build on the existing efforts at major universities, Rice University, Texas State, and corporate entities, like NanoTox, Inc. Rice University CBEN, under the efforts of Dr. Vicki Colvin, evaluates safety in laboratories. NanoTox, along with Texas State University, has conducted an initial industrial NANO-SAFETY pilot program visit. These efforts could become the prototype for a program that could be offered to organizations. Key people from these organizations will meet in the Spring 2008 to determine how to proceed in the development of a program that addresses the concerns of both businesses and institutes to ensure NANO-SAFETY for both people and the environment.
The NANO-SAFETY effort will be coordinated through the Nanomaterials Application Center, which has a record of being able to coordinate industry-academic activities and provide guidance in expediting the commercializa- tion of products.
The benefits of expediting the NANO-SAFETY program to an early arrival are enormous. First, the general public will benefit with the knowledge that an effort is in place to ensure their safety. In addition, this program will show worldwide leadership by the United States and Texas institutions in addressing emerging technology is- sues. Also, by creating a resource for nanotechnology safety issues, we will become a focus of these efforts and obtain worldwide recognition for the effort. Additionally, all participating schools and scientists will receive rec- ognition for their research efforts and nano educational programs. For the companies involved, the recognition of their efforts, as well as the interest in their products and offerings will increase their value. In addition, sig- nificant funding should become available to the institutions. Every organization that participates should receive a substantial increase in public awareness.
Copyright 2007, Walt Trybula & Texas State University
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