Prioritization of Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials (2007)

Subject Area:
NNI Publications and Reports
EHS-related Documents
Author: Nanotechnology Environmental and Health Implications Working Group; Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology Subcommittee; Committee on Technology; and the National Science and Technology Council
Publication Date: Aug. 16 2007

Description:

The September 2006 NNI document EHS Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials, identified five broad categories of Federal environmental, health, and safety (EHS) research and information needs. It also defined 75 specific needs related to risk assessment and management of nanoscale materials and provided principles for prioritizing EHS research.

The interagency Nanotechnology Environmental and Health Implications (NEHI) Working Group solicited public comment on the prioritization principles and continued to assess the research needs. As a result, the Working Group refined the prioritization principles and reorganized – and in some cases revised slightly – the statement of the research needs and categories. The Working Group used the updated principles to identify five priorities within each of the five categories of EHS research and information needs. This document defines these 25 priorities along with the revised principles and the process used for prioritizing EHS research needs.


Nanotechnology Fact

Nanoscale materials have been used for over a thousand years. 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 these materials.

Nanotechnology as we now know it began more than 30 years ago, when tools to image and measure at the nanoscale became available. Around the turn of the century, 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 interconnected, multidisciplinary 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, accelerate technology development, and foster commercialization across disciplines.

To learn more, see What is Nanotechnology?

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