Required: The PI must provide appropriate, rigorous, and documented safety training.
- Instruct employees about the hazards and risks of handling nanoparticles and how to protect themselves. Ensure that:
- A safety protocol is written into the research procedure
- Safety Data Sheets (formerly called Material Safety Data Sheets), the manufacturer's handling instructions, and UC San Diego standard operating procedures are carefully read
- Note: Given the lack of extensive data on nanoparticles, Safety Data Sheet information may be more applicable to the properties of the bulk material.
- Inform employees about the 4 possible routes of workplace exposure to nanoparticles:
- Inhalation: Because of their tiny size, certain nanoparticles appear to penetrate deep into the lungs and may translocate to other organs following pathways not demonstrated in studies with larger particles.
- Ingestion: Once ingested, some types of nanoparticles might be absorbed and transported within the body by the circulatory system.
- Injection: Accidental injection or skin puncture is a potential route of exposure, especially when working with animals or needles.
- Skin absorption: In some cases nanoparticles have been shown to migrate through skin and circulate in the body. If the particle is carcinogenic or allergenic, even tiny quantities may be biologically significant.
- Provide and train employees in the correct use of personal protective equipment and engineering controls. Find these topics in other sections of this page below:
- Personal protective equipment
- Control the hazards
- Make sure everyone understands what to do in case of emergency. See:
- Ensure that employees who work with reactive nanoparticles complete fire extinguisher training. See:
- Keep training records that include:
- Topics covered
- Materials distributed
- Employee names
- Employee signatures
Evaluate the hazards before beginning work:
- Consult safety resources:
- Be aware of fire risk when working with reactive nanomaterials. Prior to starting work, assess whether large quantities or high concentrations of nanoparticles will be generated.
- Under certain circumstances, combustible nanomaterials may present a higher risk when exposed to air due to their large surface area and overall small size.
- Carbonaceous and metal dusts can burn and explode if an oxidant such as air and an ignition source are present; self-heating may occur when reactive moieties, such as double bonds, are constituents of the carbonaceous material.
Treat any exposure seriously, no matter how slight it may seem at the moment.
- All exposures:
- Give first aid treatment, and then seek medical attention immediately as needed.
- Call UCSD Police at (858) 534-4357 (534-HELP) and request an ambulance, if transportation is necessary.
- Call Poison Control, (800) 222-1222, if additional information is needed.
- Ingestion: Seek medical attention immediately.
- Skin exposure: Flush exposed skin with water for at least 15 minutes while removing any contaminated clothing.
- Eye exposure: Flush eyes with water for at least 15 minutes. Affected individuals may need help holding their eyes open under water. Seek medical attention immediately at an emergency room.
Treat all waste engineered nanoparticles as hazardous waste unless they are known to be non-hazardous.
- Dispose of and transport waste nanoparticles in solution according to hazardous waste procedures for solvent.
- Read these articles to help you identify and dispose of hazardous waste:
- Contact the EH&S Environmental Management Facility, (858) 534-2753, for questions about waste nanoparticle disposal.
Note: Alert EH&S hazardous waste technicians when you request collection of nanomaterials.