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Nanotech Database Unveiled

Inventory of nanotechnology health and safety research shows gaps in funding

by Susan R. Morrissey
December 1, 2005

A new inventory of the research being done into the environmental, health, and safety (EHS) effects of nanotechnology shows that major research gaps exist, that an overarching research strategy is needed, and, while the overall funding for EHS research is reasonably high, the amount being spent on human safety studies is very low. Among the areas where the inventory finds that research is needed or funding is absent are workplace safety and the human health impacts of nanotechnology on the gastrointestinal tract and the heart.

The inventory, compiled by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and launched Nov. 29, is publicly accessible and highly searchable. Although the inventory accounts for only about $27 million of the estimated $39 million being spent by the federal government on EHS research, it is the first of its kind to include detailed and scientifically categorized data about EHS-related research from both government and nongovernment funding sources as well as some international ones.

The inventory’s curators acknowledge that this first inventory is not comprehensive but it will expand, growing from the 210 data records from eight countries and regions currently in the inventory to include as many federally, industrially, and internationally funded projects as possible.


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