Safety Update

improvements to CFN safety

Wai-Lin Ng

Early in October, CFN Director Chuck Black and I had the opportunity to address the Community Advisory Council on how the CFN is doing with regard to its implementation of the nanomaterials safety program. This council was formed in 1998 and meets regularly with Brookhaven Lab’s director and the DOE to be informed about Brookhaven’s activities and selected issues, particularly those related to ES&H.  This organization represents a diverse range of interests and values of individuals and groups from local businesses and civic, education, environment, employee, government, and health organizations.

The director’s messages on the mission of the CFN—to advance nanoscience to impact society—and its ability to operate productively, efficiently, and safely were well received. The council members were informed that work involving nanomaterials requires special care. Brookhaven takes a precautionary approach to handling nanomaterials that have unknown toxicity and reactivity. The Laboratory continues to follow the developments of research being conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) on hazards of nanoparticles in the workplace.

Safety News and Reminders

  • Unbound nanoparticles that are “loose” and can become airborne, such as powders or aerosols, require ES&H controls. These controls include working in laboratory hoods with HEPA filtration, applying good laboratory housekeeping practices, and using proper personal protective equipment (PPE). 
  • Label all chemical solution containers, experimental samples, and storage areas that have nanomaterials with stickers that say “Contains Nanomaterials.” 
  • Any chemical wastes or materials contaminated with nanomaterials must be disposed as hazardous waste.
  • Review the hazard information placard posted in front of each laboratory door that shows the proper PPE required to enter. All laboratories where nanomaterials work is done require that you wear a lab coat, gloves, safety glasses, and long pants.

— Wai-Lin Ng
ES&H Coordinator

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