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Class project evaluates nanomaterial health risks

Trainee Achievements

Class project evaluates nanomaterial health risks

Fellows Caroline Golin, Tom Bougher and Anne Mallow expanded their Energy Technology and Policy class project to evaluate nanomaterial health risks. Experiments conducted at the SWRI Nanoparticle Lab used carbon nanotubes as the test material. Common airborne nanotubes exposure mechanisms were characterized, and it was concluded that the nanotubes may pose an inhalation risk in a manufacturing or lab setting. Policy barriers to constructing effective regulation of nanomaterials were identified, including the complexity of classifying nanomaterials separate from their base chemicals, inadequate assessment process in terms of risk and life cycle analysis, insufficient public awareness, and insufficient industry cooperation. Notably, policy students conducted laboratory experiments, and engineering students assisted with policy option evaluation and understanding challenges of policy development for safe management of nanomaterials. The results were published in JCH&S, March/April 2013.