Nanotechnology - further reading and references

There are increasing numbers of documents and publications becoming available on the topic of nanotechnology, as more organisations are becoming aware of the possible implications.


  • Friends of the Earth Australiahas begun a project to investigate the risks of nanotechnology, and is seeking the views of unions and other interested parties. The organisation has launched a separate website:Nanotechnology ProjectThe website includes articles, background papers and links to other key sites which lead to better understanding of the issues. There are also active discussion areas to share views on nanotechnology and how the community can best respond to its risks. Friend of the Earthhomepage

    Other FoE publications:
    • a reportNanomaterials, Sunscreens and Cosmetics: Small Ingredients, Big Risks The report and an Executive Summary can be downloaded fromthis pageof the FOE website.  And a newer publication:Safe Sunscreen Guide  - gives brand information to choose nano-free sunscreens. This year’s guide lists 25 sunscreen brands that are actively avoiding use of nanoparticles in their products. There is also a list of 16 nano-free secondary sunscreens (moisturisers, anti-ageing creams and mineral foundations).
    • An ever-increasing number of consumer products contain silver nanoparticles (cling wrap, refrigerators, washing machines, socks, tooth paste, ‘Band Aids’, vacuum cleaners, disinfectants). In fact, according to the consumer products inventory hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars’ Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, nanosilver may be the most common nanomaterial now used in consumer products. In response to growing concerns about the toxicity risks of nanosilver, Friends of the Earth Australia has prepared a detailed background paperNanosilver - a threat to soil, water and human health?on the threat of nanosilver to soil, water and human health. The paper also discusses regulatory issues surrounding the use of nanosilver and reviews the toxicological literature.
  • Nanosafe Victoria- a group of Australian toxicologists and risk assessors, who have formed a research network to address the issues concerning the occupational and environmental health and safety of nanomaterials. Nanosafe has done some very interesting work identifying characteristics which could identify nanoparticles and materials of particular concern.

  • A report released by the Australia Institute, by nano-ethics researcher Dr Fern Wickson:What you should know about nanowhich echoes union concerns regarding the implications of the government’s decision to develop “evidence-based policy” for nanotechnology, particularly in the light of a lack of adequate research.  Dr Wickson’s report calls for greater transparency and public engagement about nanotech risks on what she calls ‘the experiment that is nanoscale sciences and technologies’. The report can be downloaded fromthis page.

  • From NICNAS (the Federal Government Regulatory Authority for Industrial Chemicals), an information sheetNanomaterials [pdf]

  • SafeWork Australia (the new ASCC) pageNanotechnology and Occupational Health and Safety. Also, SafeWork has recently (December 2009) released two reports:
  • From WorkSafe WA: a bulletin on Nanotechnology, [pdf] which includes advice on assessing the risks associated with nanoparticles, and using the hierarchy of controls.


  • TheProject on Emerging Technologies(based at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars) The project maintains alistof commercially available products with nanoparticles. It is updated regularly, and can be searched by product or country.

  • The UK's Health and Safety Executive (the official UK workplace safety agency) 'horizon scanning' webpage onnanotechnology. The webpage lists other sources of information, including a literature review.  In March 2009, the HSE issued guidance:Risk management of carbon nanotubes[pdf] The HSE says it: “views CNTs as being substances of very high concern. Although the recent findings only apply to some CNTs, we think a precautionary approach should be taken to the risk management ofallCNTs, unless sound documented evidence is available on the hazards from breathing in CNTs. If their use cannot be avoided, HSE expects a high-level of control to be used.”

  • Hazardsmagazinepageson nanotechnology.
  • UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution -Novel Materials in the Environment: The case of nanotechnology  (November 2008)

  • UK's Royal Society & Royal Academy of Engineering reportNanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertaintiesand the UK government's response [pdf].

  • Also from the UK Government's Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs,Characterising Potential Risks Posed by Engineered Nanoparticles, October 2005 [pdf].

  • From the UK's Economic and Social Research Council,"Nanotechnology: From the science to the social"[pdf]. It provides an appraisal of some of the broader social issues and challenges associated with nanotechnology, and how these are being framed, shaped and/or neglected in the emerging nano debate. The report also provides a summary of the pre-2006 literature on nanotechnology’s social and economic issues.

  • The US government safety research body, the National Institute for Occuaptional Safety and Health (NIOSH) has a NanotechnologyTopic page. The page has information such asFrequently Asked Questions, as well as a short guide to nanotechnology health and safety -Nanotechnology and workplace safety and health[pdf].

  • A recent reportEvaluation and control of occupational health risks from nanoparticles [pdf] prepared by Thomas Schneider et al for TemaNord - the Nordic Council of Ministers. The report includes background information, information on manufacturing of nanoparticles in Nordic countries, assessment of exposure and control measures, workplace exposure data and more.

  • The Canadian government asked the Council of Canadian Academies to look into the state of knowledge with respect to existing nanomaterial properties and their health and environmental risks, which could underpin regulatory perspectives on needs for research, risk assessment and surveillance.  The Council released a report, in July 2008:Small is Different: A Science Perspective on the Regulatory Challenges of the Nanoscale[pdf].  Their JulyReport in Focus [pdf], summarises the full report. There is more on the Council'sNanotechsite.

  • EuropeanNanotechnology Gateway