Issue Date: July 24, 2006
Addressing nanotech risks
An overarching, top-down strategy and a set of research priorities are needed to ensure that nanotech products and applications are safe, according to a report from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars' Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. To support risk research, "Nanotechnology: A Research Strategy for Addressing Risk" also calls for a minimum budget for such work of $50 million per year for the next two years. The funding and leadership for this research should be focused in agencies with a clear mandate for oversight and environmental, health, and safety research, such as EPA, NIH, NIST, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health. Providing sufficient funding, strategy, and priorities is key to the future of nanotechnology; otherwise "significant knowledge gaps, which currently exist in all areas of nanotechnology risk assessment, will persist," said report author Andrew Maynard, chief science adviser for the project. Other recommendations in the report include leveraging industrial funds, coordinating with the international community, setting up an oversight group, and developing an indepenent review of research efforts. The report is available at www.nanotechproject.org/reports.
- Chemical & Engineering News
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