Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies

On October 31, 2007, the House Committee on Science and Technology’s Research and Science Education Subcommittee held a hearing on the relationship between environmental and health policy and nanotechnology. The Subcommittee examined how the U.S. can stay at the forefront of scientific research and development, while at the same time establishing priorities and a detailed plan for research on the potential environmental and health risks of engineered nanomaterials. The Science and Technology Committee held two previous hearings on this issue — one in 2005 and another in 2006 — with the objective of reviewing the importance of risk research for achieving the potential benefits of nanotechnology and the efforts of the interagency National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) to put in place a research strategy. Progress in developing the research strategy has been slow, however. The hearing explored the status of the planning efforts and received suggestions from outside witnesses on ways to improve the process.
Continue Reading House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Relationship Between Environmental and Health Policy and Nanotechnology

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars hosted on October 9, 2007, a seminar on the Responsible NanoCode, a voluntary, principles-based Code of Conduct for entities involved in the research, development, manufacture, and retail sale of products using nanotechnologies. The draft Code was developed by a working group

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) has released the findings of a national survey that indicates Americans’ awareness of nanotechnology remains low.  The fact that only 6 percent of Americans say they have “heard a lot” about nanotechnology is surprising, given that approximately $50 billion worth of nano-goods were on the market in 2006 — a number that is growing quickly. Specific survey questions examined opinions on the safety of our food system, as well as the use of nanotechnology in food packaging and products.
Continue Reading Poll Gauges Public Knowledge of Nanotechnology

On August 2, 2007, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) convened a public meeting on the Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program (NMSP) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The meeting, which EPA had announced in a July 12, 2007, Federal Register notice, was well attended, with approximately 100 people in attendance. After introductory remarks by several EPA

On March 20, 2007, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) released a report entitled Nanotechnology and Life Cycle Assessment: A Systems Approach to Nanotechnology and the Environment, which summarizes the results of the October 2-3, 2006, workshop organized by PEN and the European Commission on life cycle assessment (LCA). LCA is a cradle-to-grave analysis of how a material affects ecosystems and human health. According to the report, the purpose of the October 2-3, 2006, workshop was to determine whether existing LCA tools and methods are adequate to use on a new technology. The report provides an overview of LCA and nanotechnology, discusses the current state of the art, identifies current knowledge gaps that may prevent the proper application of LCA in this field, and offers recommendations on the application of LCA for assessing the potential environmental impacts of nanotechnology, nanomaterials, and nanoproducts.
Continue Reading PEN Releases LCA Report