THWRC Awarded Proposal 515UTA0052H

Project Number:       515UTA0052H

Title:                           Development of Nanomaterial Use, Transport, and Disposal Guidelines for

                                   Laboratories at the UT Austin and Other THWRC Consortium Universities

Lead PI:                     Navid Saleh

Awarded Amount:    $6,000


Nanomaterials (NMs), i.e., materials with at least one dimension ranging between 1-100 nm that exhibit unique properties, are of considerable scientific interest in both academia and industry.  While the applications of NMs are promising on one hand, their tonnage production raises substantial environmental and human health concerns. The use of NMs in research laboratories across the United States and the rest of the world has propagated the growth of their development; however, there is a critical lack of environmental health and safety (EHS) guidelines for their use, transportation, and disposal. The University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) and most other institutions within the Texas Hazardous Waste Research Center (THWRC) consortium have no formal NM-specific EHS guidelines established for the safe handling of these materials.  Nationally, there are a few recent documents regarding EHS safety guidelines, but these protocols are generic, with little or no specificity related to NM types and their properties.  Thus, the occupational safety of the laboratory personnel in these institutions (i.e., mostly undergraduate and graduate students) using these potentially hazardous chemicals is likely at risk.  This proposal is the first attempt to develop a NM-specific EHS guidelines document and safety-training module, which will directly benefit a large number of students involved in NM-related research in the state of Texas and beyond.

The overall objective of the proposed work is to develop a detailed, NM-specific EHS guidelines document and safety-training module with the support of the UT-Austin EHS office. To meet this overall objective, a 23-month project ($50,000) is proposed, which will be divided into four tasks. In Task 1, an extensive literature review will be performed on nano-EHS. In Task 2, a NM inventory at UT-Austin will be developed through surveys. In Task 3, a NM-specific EHS guidelines document and safety-training module will be developed. In Task 4, the guidelines document and safety-training module will be disseminated to THWRC institutions and beyond.