Nanotechnology has the potential to significantly transform society in many key areas including new materials, processes, and products. In order to fully realize the promise of nanotechnology, Federal agencies support research to understand the environmental, health, and safety (EHS) implications of nanotechnology and provide guidance on the safety of nanomaterials across the product life cycle. The NSET Subcommittee’s NEHI Working Group provides a forum for focused interagency collaborations on nanotechnology EHS and leadership in establishing the national nanotechnology EHS research agenda, in addition to communicating EHS information among NNI agencies and to the public.
The combined efforts of the nanotechnology R&D community, public health advocacy groups, and the public are required to fully address EHS research priorities and strengthen the scientific foundation of risk assessment and risk management of nanotechnology. NEHI provides the nexus, as appropriate, for interactions between agencies and these diverse communities. The sum of these interactions and activities enhances the value of NNI efforts and provides a collaborative approach to examining public health and environmental concerns about nanomaterials.
Purpose and Goals
NSET charged NEHI with supporting Federal activities to protect public health and the environment by:
- Providing for information exchange among Federal agencies that support nanotechnology research and Federal agencies responsible for regulation and guidelines related to nanomaterials and products containing nanomaterials;
- Facilitating the identification, prioritization, and implementation of research and other activities required for the responsible research necessary to develop, use, and oversee nanotechnology;
- Promoting communication of information related to research on environmental, health, and safety implications of nanotechnology;
- Adaptively managing (i.e., coordinating, reviewing, and revising) the interagency EHS research strategy (EHS Strategy Document);
- Assisting in developing information and strategies as a basis for drafting guidance in the safe handling and use of nanomaterials and products;
- With input from NSET and other interagency groups, supporting the development of tools and methods to identify, prioritize, and manage strategies for specific research to enable risk analysis and regulatory decision-making for nanomaterials and products incorporating nanomaterials;
- Supporting developed of nanotechnology standards, including nomenclature and terminology, by consensus-based Nanotechnology Standards; and
- Working with international organizations and governments to share information on and to develop strategies for nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety research.
NEHI member agencies include those with direct responsibilities for public, workplace, and environmental safety, and agencies involved in science, education, and policy.
- Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Department of Agriculture
- Forest Service
- National Institute of Food and Agriculture
- Department of Commerce
- Department of Defense
- Department of Energy
- Within the Department of Health and Human Services
- Department of the Interior/U.S. Geological Survey
- Department of Labor/Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- Department of State
- Within the Environmental Protection Agency
- National Science Foundation
- National Nanotechnology Coordination Office
- Office of Management and Budget
- Office of Science and Technology Policy