Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials, September 2006

Subject Area:
NNI Publications and Reports
EHS-related Documents
Author: Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology Subcommittee, Committee on Technology, National Science and Technology Council
Publication Date: Sep. 20 2006

Description:

Identifies for the Federal Government environmental, health, and safety (EHS) research and information needs related to understanding and management of potential risks of engineered nanoscale materials that may be used, for example, in commercial or consumer products, medical treatments, environmental applications and research.  Intended for use by NSTC’s Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee and Federal agencies to inform and guide research programs.  Also gives nongovernment stakeholders approaches for obtaining the knowledge and understanding necessary to enable risk assessment and management of nanomaterials.  Industry producers and users of nanomaterials, for example, may use the document to inform their own research, risk assessment and risk management activities.


Nanotechnology Fact

Nanoscale materials have been used for over a millennium. For example, nanoscale gold was used in stained glass in Medieval Europe and nanotubes were found in blades of swords made in Damascus. However, ten centuries passed before high-powered microscopes were invented, allowing us to see things at the nanoscale and begin working with materials at the nanoscale.

Nanotechnology as we now know it began about 30 years ago, when our tools to image and measure extended into the nanoscale. Around the turn of the millennium, government research managers in the United States and other countries observed that physicists, biologists, chemists, electrical engineers, optical engineers, and materials scientists were working on overlapping issues emerging at the nanoscale. In 2000, the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) was created to help these researchers benefit from each other’s insights and accelerate the technology’s development.

To learn more, see What is Nanotechnology?

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