Understanding nanosafety

Understanding and minimising the risks associated with the development of nanotechnology-based products.

  • 9 June 2011 | Updated 24 December 2013

Nanosafety research at CSIRO

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CSIRO's Nanosafety research provides scientific information on the effects that nanomaterials may have on human health and the natural environment.

In addition to ensuring best practices are applied to our own research efforts, we are helping Australia capture the benefits of nanotechnologies in a safe and socially responsible way, in which appropriate risk management strategies are in place for research, manufacturing, consumer use, community and environmental impact.

Nanosafety research

The Nanosafety research program has four research streams:

  • detection of nano-objects
  • effects of nanomaterials on human health
  • effects of nanomaterials on the natural environment
  • predictive modelling of nanomaterial effects. 

Our research program identifies, understands and minimises the risks associated with the development of nanotechnology-based products by:

  • analysing the life-cycles of nanoparticles used in CSIRO to identify where humans and the environment may be at risk from exposure
  • monitoring workplace exposure to nanoparticles
  • determining the impact on human health upon workplace exposure, and from use of products containing nanomaterials
  • determining the fate and transport of nanoparticles in the environment
  • determining nanoparticle toxicity to ecosystems in soil and water
  • fully characterising the properties of nanoparticles and determining the nanoparticle metrics associated with any toxic effect
  • developing a set of human and environmental predictive models for the toxicological effects of nanomaterials.

Nanosafety research aims

We work with Australian industry to position it to readily adopt the benefits of nanotechnologies, while undertaking systematic investigation into the potential risks and unintended consequences that nanotechnologies could present.

We work with Government and community groups to ensure we understand the concerns and issues that nanotechnology raises within the community.

Nanotechnologies have the potential to offer a wide range of economic, social and environmental benefits.

For more information, refer to our work on Understanding nanotechnology.