Nanotechnology Safety Policy

Title

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Nanotechnology Safety Policy

Introduction

Purpose

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of the leaders in research devoted to nanotechnology. University researchers are working with and developing novel nanomaterials between 1 and 500 nanometers (nm) in size. Currently, there is limited occupational safety information on nanoparticles and nanomaterials in the university research environment. The purpose of this policy is to proactively address the safety issues in the emerging field of nanotechnology and ensure that University employees performing nanotechnology research are aware of the potential hazards and risks involved and the control measures that should be utilized to limit exposures.

Scope of Applicability

This Policy applies to Principal Investigators using or generating nanomaterials in their laboratory, laboratory Employees using or generating nanomaterials, and the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Environment, Health and Safety (EHS).

Policy

Policy Statement

Introduction

Nanotechnology involves the manipulation of matter at nanometer scales to produce new materials, structures, and devices. Nanoparticles are materials that have been engineered to have a size with at least one dimension (length, width, or depth) between 1 and 100 nm and may exhibit unique physical and chemical properties not seen in larger molecules of the same composition. Nanoparticles may be suspended in a gas, suspended in a liquid or embedded in a matrix. When in these states they are commonly referred to as nanomaterials. Substantial private and public investments are flowing into the exploration and development of products that can take advantage of the unique properties of nanomaterials. Currently there are no federal regulations that specifically address the environmental, health and/or safety issues of nanotechnology. At the University, several research groups are developing novel nanomaterials for use in engineering and medical applications. University researchers must consider the potential health and environmental risks that might result during this research and development. This policy will provide guidance to UNC-Chapel Hill researchers in achieving this goal and will evolve as nanotechnology regulations increase.

Responsibilities

Principal Investigators using or generating nanomaterials in their laboratory will:

  • Designate and address the use and disposal of nanomaterials as part of the individual Laboratory Safety Plan.
  • Generate standard operating procedures (SOPs) for specific work operations that involve nanomaterials.
  • Ensure that laboratory personnel are aware of and trained in the hazards and uncertainties associated with nanomaterials by utilizing nanotechnology safety resources such as Chapter 18 - “Safe Use of Nanomaterials” of the UNC Laboratory Safety Manual and the Nanomaterial Risk Level (NRL) Summary Table and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fact Sheet: Controlling Health Hazards When Working with Nanomaterials.

Laboratory Employees using or generating nanomaterials will:

  • Review Chapter 18 - “Safe Use of Nanomaterials” of the UNC Laboratory Safety Manual.
  • Review and follow proper work practices, utilize proper engineering controls and wear proper personal protective equipment as defined in the Nanomaterial Risk Level (NRL) Summary Table and the NIOSH Fact Sheet: Controlling Health Hazards When Working with Nanomaterials.
  • Review and follow laboratory standard operating procedures (SOPs) for specific work operations that involve nanomaterials.

The Department of Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) will:

  • Review and provide feedback on individual Laboratory Safety Plans that identify nanomaterial research.
  • Provide online Nanotechnology Safety training to laboratory workers who use or generate nanomaterials in campus laboratories.
  • Provide hazard assessments upon request to identify appropriate work procedures, controls and personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Continuously update nanotechnology safety resources such as Chapter 18 - “Safe Use of Nanomaterials” of the UNC Laboratory Safety Manual and the Nanomaterial Risk Level (NRL) Summary Table as new findings and regulations are announced.
  • Annually review and update the Nanotechnology Safety Policy as new findings and regulations are announced.

Exceptions

None.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Policy Contact

Environment, Health and Safety
1120 Estes Drive
Campus Box #1650
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-1650
Phone: 919-962-5507

Details

Article ID: 132048
Created
Thu 4/8/21 9:22 PM
Modified
Sun 6/20/21 3:12 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
09/20/2019 12:00 AM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Executive Director
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
09/20/2019 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
09/20/2019 12:00 AM
Origination
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
09/20/2019 12:00 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Institutional Integrity and Risk Management