Issue Date: February 16, 2009
House Approves Nanotech Bill
The House of Representatives approved legislation on Feb. 11 to strengthen and improve the National Nanotechnology Initiative—the multiagency effort to coordinate federal nanotechnology research and development. H.R. 554, the NNI Amendments Act of 2009, is identical to H.R. 5940, passed by the House last year (C&EN, June 23, 2008, page 26). The bill emphasizes the need for transparency in federal research efforts and calls for more environmental, health, and safety (EHS) research on the potential risks of nanotechnology. It requires all federal agencies that participate in NNI to develop a plan for EHS research, including the specific funding required by each agency. “A well-designed, adequately funded, and effectively executed research program in this area is the essential first step to ensure that sound science guides the formulation of regulatory rules and requirements,” Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), chairman of the House Committee on Science & Technology, said in a statement. H.R. 554 also shifts priorities away from basic research toward activities that encourage commercialization of nanotechnology products. The Senate has yet to introduce a companion bill.
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