The American Industrial Hygiene Assocation has identified nanotechnology safety as among its members’ top concerns for 2007, according to this report in Occupational Hazards. AIHA identified nanotechnology as an OSHA concern and characterized the concern this way:
Nanotechnology – The increased use of nanotechnology for consumer products raises concerns that a clearer understanding is needed to accurately assess the occupational health and safety risks posed by working with this new technology. AIHA supports increased research into the possible hazards involved with nanotechnology.
Moreover, AIHA’s 2007 annual AIHce conference will feature a panel on nanotechnology — it will be interesting to see what, if any, recommendations come out of the conference about nanomaterial handling.
Given Berkeley, California’s recent decision to regulate occupational and other exposure to nanomaterials through its hazardous materials ordinance, and recent Congressional and other pressures to regulate nanotechnology, it’s good to see organizations like AIHA taking a look at nanotechnology regulatory issues. As John argued here, we need a scientifically-based, rational regulatory approach to nanomaterial safety; the sooner such an approach is taken, the better. The last thing this industry needs is a highly public "scare" — such as the Magic Nano scare last year — to pique the interest of the trial lawyers.