Our friends at Rice University’s International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON) is proposing an idea that will essentially take the idea of "best practices" straight to the stakeholders in the form of a living document that is continually updated. Through using a "wiki," ICON proposes creating a set of "good practices" that companies can update along the way with their own ideas and suggestions.
ICON’s wiki, or a "collection of web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language" as defined by Wikipedia, is expected to go live at the end of 2008, and targets the occupational safety context with three objectives:
- Develop and launch a protected Internet site on occupational practices for the safe handling of nanomaterials using a wiki-software platform
- Create a process wherein multiple stakeholders within the international community contribute, share and discuss information related to occupational safety
- Establish a modern, interactive forum that fills the need for up-to-date information and remains current as new practices develop
This wiki, in my opinion, is a great idea who’s time has come. We’ve read, on several occasions, about the static "best practices" that have been released, the Nano Risk Framework being the most notable. However, now that more and more companies are beginning to understand the issues surrounding nanotechnology, and the potential risks posed from an occupational health standpoint, this wiki can be a way for stakeholders to directly communicate with each other to share information quickly and easily.
Keep an eye on what ICON releases later this year (I’ll certainly be updating this information as it becomes available), it will be interesting to see direct input from stakeholders who are addressing these issues daily.