Safe Handling of Advanced Nanomaterials

In the last five years, research and development activities in the field of nanotechnology have shifted to include advanced nanomaterials. The main feature of advanced nanomaterials that distinguishes them from simpler nanomaterials, such as carbon black and nanoscale TiO2 used primarily as additives, is the ability of advanced nanomaterials to change or evolve properties during their use, as a result of intended and unintended reactions to the external environment.  Examples of advanced nanomaterials include nanomaterials functionalized for specific applications, such as nanoscale gold used in cancer treatment therapies, quantum dots used in medical imaging of the body, and carbon nanotubes and graphene used in electronics.  Depending on the type of nanomaterial and the conditions of exposure, such a change of properties may result in health risks to workers handling advanced nanomaterials if exposure is not adequately controlled.

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