Altairnano Completes Initial Round of Nanomaterial Workplace Testing with NIOSH
Cooperative Program Seen as Industry Leadership in Product Stewardship
RENO, Nevada--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALTI), a leading provider of advanced nanomaterials for use in alternate energy, life sciences and industrial applications, today announced that it has completed the first phase of a research project on workplace nanomaterial exposure characterization in conjunction with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness.
“We appreciate the interest and proactive approach that Altairnano has taken in building a public base of knowledge in this growing industry, and developing productive partnerships such as this should serve as an excellent example to the rest of the industry.”
As both a researcher and manufacturer of nanomaterials, Altairnano is eager to develop best practices in its materials handling and use. Recognizing that there is considerable misinformation, and lack of information, regarding nanomaterials, Altairnano embarked on a program in 2005 to develop a substantial body of data regarding its products. By creating partnerships and working with recognized industry experts, academia and public research institutes, such as NIOSH and the University of Nevada at Reno (UNR), Altairnano is endeavoring to set high product stewardship standards. In partnering with NIOSH and UNR Altairnano does not receive company or product endorsement from either organization instead it gains access to valuable research resources and knowledge.
Although Altairnano’s materials have particle sizes measured in nanometers, the nature of the process and the materials is such that these nanoparticles naturally cluster together into agglomerates that are measured in microns – thousands of nanometers – rendering the handling and control characteristics of the materials more like traditional “bulk” chemicals. While particles in the micron size range still require occupational health considerations, the means to control particles of this size are well established. This is in contrast to some nanoparticles that do exist as single particles and therefore have the need for much more rigorous evaluation of controls and may require more stringent handling requirements. Research investigations with NIOSH are continuing to confirm the nature and behavior of Altairnano’s materials, and to validate that traditional control methods provide good worker protection.
In early 2006, NIOSH visited Altairnano’s manufacturing facility in Reno, Nevada and monitored workplace air quality and chemical handling techniques. NIOSH conducted this technical visit as part of its research program to visit multiple facilities to gain better understanding of the possible occupational safety and health implications and applications of nanotechnology. Based on their studies NIOSH recommended a combination of a few minor procedural changes and some longer-term engineering control improvements that could be made in the factory. Altairnano has implemented the procedural changes, has made some initial engineering control changes, and is planning on more extensive controls in part of its process.
“The open and cooperative nature of the partnership with Altairnano is invaluable for helping NIOSH, Altairnano, and other stakeholders, to better understand the ways in which exposures may occur in the workplace, and to use that information to help underpin interim recommendations industry-wide for good practices,” commented Charles (Chuck) L. Geraci, Branch Chief at NIOSH and Co-Coordinator of the NIOSH Nanotechnology Field Team, “We appreciate the interest and proactive approach that Altairnano has taken in building a public base of knowledge in this growing industry, and developing productive partnerships such as this should serve as an excellent example to the rest of the industry.”
Altairnano is complementing the partnership with NIOSH by conducting further studies of the environment and human interaction with nanomaterials in conjunction with other recognized experts. This includes a recently announced DOE funded project to investigate the interaction of Altairnano’s nanomaterials with various non-aqueous environments.
Altairnano’s President and CEO Alan J. Gotcher, PhD. said, “We strongly believe in leading product stewardship by working closely with key agencies. Through cooperation we hope to assist in the development of a regulatory environment that maintains the US lead in nanotechnology while ensuring safety for workers and consumers alike.”
ABOUT ALTAIR NANOTECHNOLOGIES INC.
Altairnano is an innovator and supplier of advanced novel, ceramic nanomaterials. Altairnano’s leading edge scientists are complemented by a seasoned management team with substantial experience in commercializing innovative, disruptive technologies. The company has developed nanomaterials for the alternative energy, life sciences and performance materials markets based on its proprietary manufacturing process. This process also provides the foundation for its innovative AHP pigment process. For more information visit: www.altairnano.com.
This release may contain forward-looking statements as well as historical information. Forward-looking statements, which are included in accordance with the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, may involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the company's actual results and performance in future periods to be materially different from any future results or performance suggested by the forward-looking statements in this release. These risks include the risk that subsequent testing will indicate that traditional controls are not sufficient for the safe handling some of Altairnano’s nanomaterial products and, as a result, that Altairnano will be required to implement additional, costly safeguards and procedures. In addition, other risks are identified in the company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-Q, as filed with the SEC. Such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this release. The company expressly disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements found herein to reflect any changes in company expectations or results or any change in events.