The International Council on Nanotechnology

Safety Professionals Give Warm Reception to GoodNanoGuide

The American Industrial Hygiene Association held its annual meeting this year in Toronto with a theme of Discoveries Beyond Borders. After the Monday morning keynote address by Dr. Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, the next two keynotes were on issues AIHA has identified as “two major challenges in the field: sustainability and nanotechnology.” Addressing the issue of sustainability was Edward L. Quevedo, JD, special counsel chair for the sustainability group at Farella Braun and Martel. (An interview with Mr. Quevedo about his keynote is posted here.)

My talk kicked off Wednesday’s focus on nanotechnology. Before and after the keynote talk I was able to hang out at NIOSH’s exposition booth where I was graciously provided an internet-connected computer on which to live-demo the GoodNanoGuide to passersby. But the invitation to speak before a crowd of about 1000 occupational safety professionals provided an ideal opportunity to formally launch the GoodNanoGuide, an international online collaborative wiki designed to create a forum for people seeking to work with engineered nanomaterials safely. The format of the keynote address did not allow for questions, so AIHA set aside a separate time and place for an “Ask the Expert” session later on Wednesday morning. This session was attended by about a hundred people and we eschewed the formal structure of me sitting up on a dais for a more informal conversational mode. This involved me running up and down the aisles passing the microphone back and forth among the questioners, myself and others in the audience better equipped to answer a given question. (Most times, this was Chuck Geraci, Laura Hodson or Donna Heidel from NIOSH who could report on specific research being done at the institute to inform occupational practice.)

Feedback to the talk and to the GoodNanoGuide was positive and we noted a major spike in visits to the site during the meeting. But even more importantly, we are already beginning to field requests to join the GoodNanoGuide community. (We map their locations here.) This is vital because the site will only grow into the knowledge base we all want it to become if a diverse and robust community of experts contributes. Join us by visiting the GoodNanoGuide here and registering as a contributor.

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