The nanotechnology coalition that launched the first online database of scientific findings related to the benefits and risks of nanomaterials has taken the concept one step further with the launch today of The Virtual Journal of Nanotechnology Environment, Health & Safety (VJ-Nano EHS). The journal may be accessed at http://icon.rice.edu/virtualjournal.cfm.
A monthly online journal that contains citations and links to articles on the environment and health impacts of nanotechnology, VJ-Nano EHS is a product of The International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON) and Rice Universityís Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN), which launched the first EHS database in August 2005.
ICON is an international organization with members from academia, non-governmental organizations, industry and government dedicated to the safe, responsible and beneficial development of nanotechnology. Its EHS database was the first effort to integrate the vast and diverse scientific literature on the impacts of nanoparticles, which are tiny pieces of matter with dimensions measuring between 1-100 nanometers and containing between tens and thousands of atoms.
By virtue of their size, shape or surface characteristics, many nanoparticles exhibit properties that arenít observed in the bulk form of the same material. With nanomaterials currently being used in hundreds of consumer products, including cosmetics, fabrics, and computer hardware, it is important to understand the potential risks of nanoparticles to living organisms. VJ-Nano EHS provides the most comprehensive knowledge base of peer-reviewed information focusing on nanomaterial impacts available to-date.
"One of the main purposes of our organization is to communicate reliable information on the potential environmental and health risks of nanotechnology in a way that is accessible to both the research community and non-technical audiences," said Kristen Kulinowski, director of ICON. "We believe this new journal provides us with that opportunity."
VJ-Nano EHS organizes the information contained in ICONís existing EHS Database into a reader-friendly monthly journal format, with articles listed in each issue primarily published during that month. New features include a rotating guest editorship, and a series of occasional papers on topics of interest taken from the contents of the database. In addition, users can subscribe to an RSS feed to receive citations to the latest papers. ICON is working to make more of the papers themselves accessible.
Contents can be browsed by author, journal, or date or by method of study, exposure or hazard target, paper type, risk exposure group, production, particle type, exposure pathway, content emphasis and target audience. In the future, the journal will include a section on the "most-cited Nano EHS papers."
VJ-Nano EHS and its database are maintained by ICON as a public service. ICON is associated with CBEN at Rice University.