Nanotechnology Colloquium
Colloquium Date: Monday, March 8, 2010

A bi-weekly event to present and discuss issues related to developments, applications and commercialization of nanotechnology.

“Current Practices and Perceived Risks Related to Health, Safety and Environmental Stewardship in Nanomaterials Industries ”

Cassandra Engeman, PhD
Project Coordinator
Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology
University of California - Santa Barbara
Contributors: L. Baumgartner, B. Carr, A. Fish, J. Meyerhofer, P. Holden, B. Harthorn



Environmental health and safety (EHS) and product stewardship practices specific to engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) are still being developed. Without regulation, ENM industries may act independently to avoid risks with managers risk perceptions playing an influential role in industry practices. In 2006, an interdisciplinary team at the University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB), with support from the International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON), surveyed ENM industries worldwide regarding workplace and environmental practices, product stewardship, and views on risks. Surveying industry three years later, this project aims to understand what steps ENM firms--producers and users of ENMs--are currently taking to protect workers, consumers, and the environment.

We ask:

  1. In the context of absent regulation and indeterminant standards, how is industry adapting their practices for the safe development of nanomaterials?
  2. What determines the extent to which ENM firms follow publically-available guidance documents on nano-specific health and safety practices?

This research applies a survey instrument developed through collaboration between social and natural science researchers. Researchers elicited responses from an international pool of industry participants for a cross-national comparative analysis. Our research investigates the role that environmental and health risk perceptions play in management practices in the context of uncertainty. Firm characteristics, company location, the cost of EHS programs, and access to information also shape practices, but respondents who report higher levels of perceived risk are more likely to report industry EHS practices that follow publically available guidance documents or respond to toxicity research findings.

For more information, visit the research project's website: To participate in the study online, go to:

Bio: Cassandra Engeman

Cassandra Engeman is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB). Her research areas include: research methodology, the study of work, organizations, and public policy. As a Project Coordinator at the Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, Cassandra contributes her knowledge of social science research methods and analysis in designing the project on Current Practices and Perceived Risks Related to Health, Safety and Environmental Stewardship in Nanomaterials Industries. She recently presented preliminary results from this study as an invited speaker at the Nano Tech 2010 Exhibition and Conference in Tokyo.

Lynn Baumgartner, Benjamin Carr, Allison Fish, and John Meyerhofer are Masters students at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California-Santa Barbara. From diverse backgrounds within the field of environmental science, this research team contributes its knowledge of the forms and characteristics of nanomaterials and current recommended practices with regard to handling nanomaterials. The project, Current Practices and Perceived Risks Related to Health, Safety and Environmental Stewardship in Nanomaterials Industries, serves as their Masters thesis, and they are graduating this June.

VENUE: You may attend the presentation from any one of the following locations.

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AUSTIN: Winstead PC
401 Congress Av., Ste 2100
Austin, TX 78701

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DALLAS: Winstead PC
5400 Renaissance Tower, 1201 Elm Street
Dallas, TX 75270; 214-745-5400

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EL PASO: El Paso Community College
9050 Viscount, Bldg. B
El Paso, TX 79925

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HOUSTON: Winstead PC
1100 JPMorgan Chase Tower
600 Travis Street
Houston, TX 77002

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700 N. St Mary St., Ste 1900
San Antonio, TX 78205

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600 Town Center One
1450 Lake Robbins Drive
The Woodlands, TX 77380

Program begins at 11:30am [CDT] with a complimentary lunch provided by Winstead PC. Presentation begins at 12:00pm.

Event Coordinators:
Richard Fink 512-339-5020x130
Chairman: Dr. Zvi Yaniv

Registration deadline is Friday, March 5 at 5:00 PM Central.

To register, please send an email to Richard Fink with your preferred attendance location.


Walt Trybula, Ph.D.
Texas State University
San Marcos, TX
(512) 245-6062

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