On September 18, 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that, to ensure nanotechnology is developed in a responsible manner, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and EPA awarded $38 million to establish two Centers for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEIN).  EPA contributed $5 million to the overall award, which is the largest award for nanotechnology research in its history.  The CEINs will conduct research on the possible environmental, health, and safety impacts of nanomaterials, using very different approaches than previous studies. Led by the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and Duke University, the CEINs will study how nanomaterials interact with the environment and human health, and are intended to result in better risk assessment and mitigation strategies to be used in the commercial development of nanotechnology.  Each CEIN will work as a network, connected to multiple research organizations, industry, and government agencies, and will emphasize interdisciplinary research and education.

Continue Reading EPA Announces Centers for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology

On September 18, 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that EPA Region 5 will host the 2008 International Environmental Nanotechnology Conference: Applications and Implications, October 7-9, 2008, in Chicago, Illinois. According to EPA, researchers from Asia, Australia, and Europe will join U.S. scientists and government officials to discuss nanotechnology applications for environmental cleanup, pollution

We are pleased to announce that Lynn L. Bergeson will be speaking on June 2, 2008, at the Nano Science and Technology Institute (NSTI) Nanotech 2008 conference, which will run from June 1-5, 2008. She will be participating in a session on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program. In addition, she

On April 24, 2008, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report entitled Nanotechnology: Accuracy of Data on Federally Funded Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Could Be Improved, which contains the testimony of Robert A. Robinson, Managing Director, Natural Resources and Environment, before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Innovation. Robinson provided a summary of GAO’s findings as reported in its March 31, 2008, report entitled Nanotechnology: Better Guidance Is Needed to Ensure Accurate Reporting of Federal Research Focused on Environmental, Health, and Safety Risks. GAO was asked to focus on: (1) the extent to which selected agencies conducted environmental, health, and safety (EHS) research in fiscal year (FY) 2006; (2) the reasonableness of the agencies’ and the National Nanotechnology Initiative’s (NNI) processes to identify and prioritize EHS research; and (3) the effectiveness of the agencies’ and the NNI’s process to coordinate EHS research.
Continue Reading GAO Testifies Before Senate Subcommittee on the Accuracy of Data Concerning Federally Funded EHS Research

Nanotechnology: The Power of Small,” the first major television series to examine the implications of advances in nanotechnology, will begin airing on local public broadcasting stations in April 2008. The series is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the presenting station and grantee for the series is Oregon Public Broadcasting. In the episodes, award-winning National Public Radio correspondent John Hockenberry asks policymakers, scientists, journalists, and community leaders questions concerning nanotechnology’s potential to impact people’s privacy and security, health, and environment. Featured experts include Harvard University researcher George M. Whitesides, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) chief scientist Andrew Maynard, and author Joel Garreau, among others.
Continue Reading NSF-Funded Television Series to Air in April 2008

On February 14, 2008, the Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Technology released a final document entitled Strategy for Nanotechnology-Related Environmental, Health, and Safety Research, which describes the National Nanotechnology Initiative’s (NNI) strategy for addressing priority research on the environment, health, and safety (EHS)

According to a report recently released by the Danish Ministry of Health and Prevention, nanotechnology research, development, and applications are covered by existing legislation. The report, which includes an English summary, reviews existing national and international legislation in the areas of foods, medicines, the environment, chemicals, and the working environment in relation to current knowledge of nanotechnological products and processes.  The report also includes a chapter on national and international research policy activities, and describes the initiatives, working groups, and network groups the relevant government departments are taking part in, both nationally and internationally. The working group that prepared the report included representatives from the Ministry of the Interior and Health, the Danish Board of Health, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, the Danish Medicines Agency, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, the National Food Institute at the Technical University of Denmark, the Danish Agency for Science, Technology, and Innovation, the Danish Working Environment Authority, and Danish Standards.
Continue Reading Danish Report Finds Nanotechnology Covered by Existing Legislation

On November 8, 2007, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued a memorandum regarding “Principles for Nanotechnology Environmental, Health, and Safety Oversight.” According to the memorandum, OSTP and CEQ “led a multi-agency consensus-based process” to develop principles intended to guide the development and implementation of policies for nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety oversight at the agency level.  The memorandum says that federal agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) “must implement sound policies to protect public health and the environment,” and “agencies that perform nanotechnology research and development or that use nanotechnology in accomplishing their mission must provide appropriate oversight.”
Continue Reading Bush Administration Releases Principles for Nanotechnology Environmental, Health, and Safety Oversight

On October 25-26, 2007, the European Commission (EC) held the First Annual Nanotechnology Safety for Success Dialogue. Presentations included:

On August 16, 2007, the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO), on behalf of the Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee of the Committee on Technology, National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), published a notice in the Federal Register announcing the availability of a document entitled The Prioritization of Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials: An Interim Document for Public Comment, which assigns priority to research needs and areas identified in the NSET Subcommittee document Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials, which was published on September 21, 2006.  Comments are due September 17, 2007.
Continue Reading EHS Research Priorities Released for Comment