(July 19, 2011) The National Nanotechnology Initiative’s (NNI) released four reports today that are the result of a series of workshops focusing on various issues in the nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety (EHS) arena. The “nanoEHS” workshop series was a part of an ongoing strategy to coordinate nanotechnology-related EHS research by convening experts from industry, academia, and the Federal Government to share the latest information and newest developments, to discuss the current state-of-the-science, and to identify research gaps in the nanotechnology-related EHS field. The knowledge gleaned from the nanoEHS workshop series was critical to the development of the soon-to-be-released, updated NNI EHS Research Strategy.
“These four reports detail the process by which we examined the 2008 EHS Research Strategy and the information and data in the EHS and ELSI arenas to consider the best path forward for nanotechnology,” said Dr. Sally Tinkle, Acting Director and EHS Coordinator for the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office. “The nanoEHS workshops, along with advice from the National Academies and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), culminated in the development of an updated EHS Research Strategy for the NNI, which will guide the responsible development of nanotechnology.”
Through four separate workshops, experts examined the following areas:
- Nanomaterials and Human Health & Instrumentation, Metrology, and Analytics
- Nanomaterials and the Environment & Instrumentation, Metrology, and Analytics
- Human and Environmental Exposure Assessment
- Risk Management Methods & Ethical, Legal, and Societal Implications of Nanotechnology
The Obama Administration is committed to supporting significant research into the potential EHS impacts of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is an exciting field of research that has great scientific and economic potential because of its ability to create new materials with novel properties for application in such diverse fields as electronics and computing, alternative energy, and medicine.
The U.S. is a global leader in nanotechnology-related EHS R&D. Federal research dedicated to nanotechnology-related EHS grew substantially from $34.8 million in FY 2005 to a requested $123.5 million for FY 2012, totaling $575 million cumulatively.