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Environmental Training Center Prepares Companies to Handle Nanotechnology Environmental and Human Safety Impacts

SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2012 federal budget recommends the allocation of $2.1 billion to the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), a federal interagency research and development program that studies the imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulation of matter at the nanoscale—a measurement of particles between 1 and 100 nanometers (1 billionth of a meter) in size.  While nanoscale materials are found in nature as part of smoke, volcanic ash, and sea spray, the advancement of microscopic magnification has allowed scientists to understand the new properties of matter that occur at the nano level. This burgeoning area of science, with potential applications in electronics, computing, alternative energy, food, and medicine brings with it a significant need for companies to understand the safe use of these materials.

Part of the NNI budget is dedicated to studying the environmental, health and safety (EHS) exposure to, and implications and use of, nanomaterials.  Federal research is ongoing, and as companies adopt the use of nanomaterials in various development or manufacturing processes, having a framework for risk management will be a critical component of their successful use.

To address these growing needs, the California Community Colleges' Environmental Training Center (ETC) will host a workshop entitled "Introduction to Nanomaterials and Occupational Health." The eight-hour course hosted by Mission College in Santa Clara will take place on May 24, 2011, and review current EHS knowledge, provide guidelines for risk management, and offer tools for tracking the latest health and safety impacts in the field.

"The nanotechnology field is expected to grow to $2.5 trillion globally over the next four years and has the potential to create thousands of jobs in California by 2015," said ETC Statewide Director Richard Della Valle.  "This upcoming workshop is led by two well respected industry experts, and provides a critical foundation of knowledge for those professionals with safety and health responsibilities in facilities where nanomaterials are handled now, or may be handled in the future."

Industry experts Kristen Kulinowski, PhD, director of the International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON) and Bruce Lippy, PhD, director of the National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training, will provide lab managers, process safety engineers, occupational medicine professionals, and industrial hygienists, among others, the opportunity to prepare their companies and staff to safely take advantage of this new area of scientific and technological progress.  For information, visit, or contact Bay Area ETC Center Director Michael Hall at

The ETC is part of a statewide network funded through the California Community College's Economic and Workforce Development (CCCEWD) program and helps California businesses with onsite training and education, compliance audits and health and safety issues.

SOURCE California Community College's Economic and Workforce Development
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