Controlling Health Hazards When Working with Nanomaterials

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is pleased to present Controlling Health Hazards When Working with Nanomaterials: Questions to Ask Before You Start. This poster is a visual tool designed to guide those who work with nanomaterials on how to prevent exposures. The poster poses questions that the reader should ask themselves before starting work with a nanomaterial. Readers can then move through the poster to see which different control and personal protective equipment options are appropriate based on the physical form of the nanomaterial. The poster can be displayed in a lab or work environment, making it an easily accessible reminder of the important health and safety considerations for working with nanomaterials.

You can download the nanomaterials safety chart from the link below


Online Traceability of Nanomaterials

Since live launch in 2011, INSCX™ exchange has operated a dedicated trade reporting mechanic to record actual trade in engineered nanomaterials (ENMs), objects and devices referred to as Downstream Audit Sequencing (DAS) for the purposes of enabling traceability.  The tool is to now be made available online free to exchange members and non-members alike. DAS can be used to report supply of nanomaterials quickly and easily in a manner which advances the requirement of regulation agencies for disclosure, safeguards business confidences while enabling means for supply-chain tracking of any nanomaterial from source.

Access to trade information collected via the DAS mechanic is offered exclusively and securely to official regulation agencies, approved insurers and the Institute of Occupational Medicine who formally collaborate with the Exchange.

The objective of DAS is to enable transparency and traceability in the trade of nanomaterials for the purposes of aiding a regulatory structure than can command broad societal and industry support, advance insurability and the goal of industry-relevant toxicology assessment of nanomaterials, while safeguarding the rights of producers and downstream users to commercial confidentiality.

To receive a registration pack and/or to learn more nanoproducers, converters, and downstream users are invited to complete the enquiry form accessible via the DAS Report link on the exchange website.

Nanomaterials in Food


Nanotechnology is the next frontier in consumer awareness of its use in food. Nanoparticles are extremely small, approximately 1000 times thinner than a human hair. Friends of the Earth describes their size in their report Nanoparticles in Baby Formula:

The most commonly used nanoparticle in foods is titanium dioxide. It is used to make foods like yogourt look whiter and to reduce caking in dry goods. Some manufacturers are investigating the replacement of fat molecules with nano water droplets in products like mayonnaise and ice cream.

Friends of the Earth tested six popular American baby formulas to find that all contained nano-sized structures, yet no mention of the technology was listed on the label. The advocacy group cautions that “the same properties exhibited at the nanoscale that make these materials attractive for use in the food industry may also result in greater toxicity for humans and the environment.”

Currently, there are no regulations or labels specific to nanotechnology-based health and food products.  My quest for sunscreen without nanoparticles in the last few years required careful research. Nanomaterials have been a boon to the cosmetics industry. Consumers love highly transparent sunscreens, light-diffracting cosmetics, and moisturizers with enhanced absorbability.


Anti-corrosion opportunity using nanoscale Grapehene

Producers of nanoscale Graphene are invited to contact the Exchange concerning an opportunity to collaborate with an industrial partner to explore use of nanoscale graphene to enhance anti-corrosion of metals. Registered Nanoproducers seeking additional information concerning this opportunity are advised to contact the Exchange via mail at:

INSCX Nanomaterials Trading Portal

The upgraded version of the INSCX online trade portal specific for physical delivery of engineered nanomaterials, objects and devices (ENMs) will be available to users end March, 2018 where some 2,300 ENM listing will be available to trade in real-time.  Users are invited to register to access the Nanomaterials portal via the Buy Materials Online link on the main website, then select > Products > LOGIN/Register.

INSCX TORS upgrade

The online physical trade platform for INSCX exchange specific to polymers, base-oils and TiO2 is currently being upgraded. For more information please submit the enquiry form below.

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NIA Will Hold Webinar on Nanomedicine: Diagnostics and Therapeutics Advancing through Nanotechnology

On March 7, 2018, the Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA) will hold a webinar on “Nanomedicine:  Diagnostics and therapeutics advancing through nanotechnology.”  The webinar will focus on the diagnostic and therapeutic applications of nanotechnology, with the agenda including:

  • Regulatory landscape in Europe and beyond for nanomaterials in healthcare applications; and
  • Industry developments within nanomedicine from NIA Members:
    • Endomag — A United Kingdom/U.S. small- or medium-sized enterprise (SME) with minimally-invasive surgical guidance platform using magnetism (magnetized nanoparticles) to improve tissue localization in surgical oncology; and
    • Senolytx — A Spanish/U.S. SME developing a nanoparticle-based theraorutic composed of a mesoporous silica scaffold, loaded with the cyctotoxic doxorubin.

The webinar is open to all interested applicants and presentations will be available to all attendees.  Registration is now open.

Catalogue of nanomaterials used in cosmetic products placed on the EU market

The European Commission (EC) has published a catalog of nanomaterials used in cosmetic products on the European Union (EU) market.

On February 5, 2018, the European Union Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) published a table linking nanomaterials listed in the catalog to their Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) registration data in the European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) database. See

According to EUON, the linking was done by matching chemical substances in ECHA’s database through their Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) numbers and/or with the name of the nanomaterial in the catalog. EUON notes that as the registration of nanomaterials under the Cosmetics Regulation and the registration of substances under REACH have different scopes, it is not always possible to have a perfect match. Some catalog entries are more specific in scope than the substances registered under REACH.

EUON cautions that a REACH registration may not specifically cover the nanoforms of the substances used in cosmetics.

Bolometer Exploits the Thermoelectric Properties of Graphene

The new device, classified as a bolometer, has a fast response time and, unlike most other bolometers, it operates over an extensive range of temperatures. With a relatively low cost and simple design, this device could be scaled up, enabling an extensive range of commercial applications. Researchers have described a graphene-based radiation detector in this week’s edition of Applied Physics Letters, from AIP Publishing.

The discovery of graphene in 2004 was expected to herald a completely new type of technology. “But unfortunately, there are some strong fundamental limitations for this material,” stated Grigory Goblin of Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. “Nowadays, the real industrial applications of graphene are quite limited.”

Graphene – made up of single sheets of carbon atoms that produce a flat, hexagonal lattice structure – has been employed chiefly for its mechanical properties.

“But our device shows that more fundamental properties can be used in actual applications,” Skoblin said. The new bolometer is based on the thermoelectric properties of graphene. Radiation heats part of the device, prompting electrons to move. The displaced electrons produce an electric field, which develops a voltage difference across the device. An essentially direct measurement of the radiation is thus provided by the change in voltage.

Other devices depend on the generation of electrical current or resistance change brought about by incoming radiation. However, measuring changes in current or resistance need an external power source in order to generate an initial current. According to Skoblin, the mechanism is considered to be much simpler than in other bolometers.

The piece of graphene in the new bolometer is small, hence it is one of the fastest bolometers as it heats up and responds in a rapid manner. Additionally, the device continues to be sensitive to radiation at temperatures up to 200 oC. Standard bolometers usually operate only at cryogenic temperatures.

Other researchers have earlier made graphene bolometers, with improved properties than this new device, however, these models comprise of a double layer of graphene, allowing them to be more difficult to scale, Skoblin said.

Another benefit of the new device is its coating. The researchers earlier developed a method to coat graphene with a dielectric polymer known as Parylene, which offers a good balance of scalability and performance. It is possible to get a better performance by coating with hexagonal boron nitride, Skoblin said, but it is difficult to obtain and the coating techniques are hard to scale up. Other studies indicate that a bolometer with hexagonal boron nitride coating would be less efficient.

The prototype bolometer functions only with microwave radiation at 94 gigahertz, but future designs will indeed widen the frequency range. The researchers next plan to make the device employing chemical vapor deposition to grow bigger pieces of graphene, making way for mass production.

Antifouling Tech Inspired by Carnivorous Plants

A team of chemistry researchers based out of the University of Sydney Nano Institute, led by associate professor Chiara Neto, has devised antifouling surface coatings that do not contain any toxic components, using the surface structure of a carnivorous plant as inspiration.

The need for alternative antifoulants has been on the rise since the ban of tributyltin, a toxic antifouling agent that was commonly used in the past.

Antifouling Agent

The carnivorous Nepenthes pitcher plant, the research team’s inspiration, traps a layer of water on the tiny structures around the rim of its opening, noted The University of Sydney. This creates a slippery layer that causes insects to aquaplane, at which point they slip into the “pitcher” and are digested.

By stopping the initial adhesion of the bacteria, the coating in turn inhibits the formation of a biofilm and the further growth of marine fouling organisms.

Successful Tests

Lab tests demonstrated that these surfaces resisted much of the fouling caused by a common strain of marine bacteria. In comparison, layers of Teflon that went untreated by the coating were completely fouled. To ensure the coating’s ability to hold up under a variety of conditions, the research team also tested the coating in contact with the surface of the ocean.

For this, test surfaces were attached to swimming nets at Watsons Bay baths in Sydney Harbor for seven weeks. Even in this environment, the coating still resisted fouling.

The coatings are also transparent and moldable, which can be useful for underwater cameras and sensors, noted the University of Sydney.

The new coating uses ‘nanowrinkles’ inspired by the carnivorous Nepenthes pitcher plant. The plant traps a layer of water on the tiny structures around the rim of its opening. This creates a slippery layer causing insects to aquaplane on the surface, before they slip into the pitcher where they are digested.

Nanostructures utilise materials engineered at the scale of billionths of a metre — 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Associate Professor Neto’s group at Sydney Nano is developing nanoscale materials for future development in industry.

Biofouling can occur on any surface that is wet for a long period of time, for example aquaculture nets, marine sensors and cameras, and ship hulls. The slippery surface developed by the Neto group stops the initial adhesion of bacteria, inhibiting the formation of a biofilm from which larger marine fouling organisms can grow.

The interdisciplinary University of Sydney team included biofouling expert Professor Truis Smith-Palmer of St Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada, who was on sabbatical visit to the Neto group for a year, partially funded by the Faculty of Science scheme for visiting women.

In the lab, the slippery surfaces resisted almost all fouling from a common species of marine bacteria, while control Teflon samples without the lubricating layer were completely fouled. Not satisfied with testing the surfaces under highly controlled lab conditions with only one type of bacteria the team also tested the surfaces in the ocean, with the help of marine biologist Professor Ross Coleman.

Test surfaces were attached to swimming nets at Watsons Bay baths in Sydney Harbour for a period of seven weeks. In the much harsher marine environment, the slippery surfaces were still very efficient at resisting fouling.

The antifouling coatings are mouldable and transparent, making their application ideal for underwater cameras and sensors.

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Sydney.