Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > First Inventory of Nanotech Environment & Health Research

Abstract:
A new inventory of research into nanotechnology's potential environmental, human health, and safety effects (EH&S) shows the need for more resources, for a coherent risk-related research strategy, and for public-private partnerships and international EH&S research collaborations.

First Inventory of Nanotech Environment & Health Research

Washington | November 29, 2005

A new inventory of research into nanotechnology’s potential environmental, human health, and safety effects (EH&S) shows the need for more resources, for a coherent risk-related research strategy, and for public-private partnerships and international EH&S research collaborations. These are the key conclusions drawn from the first single inventory of largely government-funded research projects exploring nanotechnology’s possible EH&S impacts.

This unique inventory is publicly available online at www.nanotechproject.org or www.wilsoncenter.org. It was compiled and released by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Project is a partnership of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Wilson Center.

“For the first time, policymakers, corporations and others can access and assess the scope, quality and efficacy of federally-funded research projects examining nanotechnology’s potential human health and environmental effects. The inventory gives government officials and scientists in industry and academe the opportunity to work together. It enables them to develop a coherent research roadmap and to set research priorities. It helps makes possible the planning necessary to create public-private sector partnerships and international collaborations for risk-related nanotechnology research programs in the future,” said Dr. Andrew Maynard, the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies’ chief scientist.

Total U.S. spending on all nanotechnology research and development (R&D) now stands at approximately $3 billion per year—about one-third of the estimated $9 billion invested worldwide by the public and private sectors combined. By 2015, the National Science Foundation projects that nanotechnology will have a $1 trillion impact on the world economy and employ 2 million workers globally.

Too Little Being Spent on Future Effects of Nano Toxicity
“The federal government’s National Nanotechnology Initiative estimates that approximately $39 million annually in government funds—out of total expenditures of about $1 billion—are directed at environmental, health, and safety R&D. The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies’ inventory identifies about $27 million currently being spent by the U.S. government to explore possible adverse health, environmental and safety impacts of engineered nanomaterials or nanoparticles,” said Maynard. “That limited investment is focused on research into human toxicity studies and some direct environmental impacts. Very little is being spent to investigate common workplace safety issues like the risk of explosion in production of nanopowders.”

“In addition, most of this investment focuses on first generation nanotechnologies, many of which are already in the marketplace. Virtually none deals with future generations of nanomaterials,” according to Maynard.

Little funding is allocated to explore possible links between exposure to nanomaterials and diseases of the lung, heart or skin. Similar to last year’s Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering study (July 2004), the Project’s scientists are not able to identify U.S. government-sponsored epidemiological research looking at the relationship between exposure and possible long-term health outcomes during the manufacture of nanomaterials like carbon nanotubes.

“Specifically, out of a total of 161 federally-funded, risk-related projects, the Project’s scientists found only 15 relevant to occupation-caused physical injury (totaling $1.7 million), and only two highly relevant projects on the long-term environmental and occupational exposures that potentially could cause disease (totaling $0.2 million). These are important gaps that must be filled to ensure that nanotechnology is safely commercialized and accepted by the public as not harmful,” stated Dr. Maynard. “In particular, more research is needed to address the potential life-cycle impacts of nanotechnology-based products as they move from manufacture to use and to eventual disposal.”

Inventory Is Critical Start, But Global Action Is Needed
“This first inventory is not comprehensive, but it is the best available, detailed and scientifically-classified collection of data about nanotechnology EH&S risk-related research that exists either inside or outside government,” declared Dr. Maynard. “It is intended to be international and expanding, and will be regularly updated.”

Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies director David Rejeski noted that “Some experts suggest that existing funding for risk-related nanotechnology research must be doubled or tripled. Realistically, no single country is likely to have adequate resources to cover all risk assessment needs, especially as nanotechnologies advance and become more complex and pervasive. What is clear from the inventory is that increased funding must be associated with an overarching research strategy and partnerships, if critical issues are to be addressed with ‘due diligence.’”

“We need an international Nanorisk Research Program built on shared knowledge and a clear set of priorities. This inventory is an important tool for building partnerships between governments, and between governments and industry, which will ensure that risks to workers, consumers, and the environmental are adequately understood and addressed,” suggested Rejeski.

Global Risk Research Funding Also Inadequate
“The good news,” said Dr. Maynard, “is that the U.S. appears to be spending more on EH&S research than any other government. The second largest funder of risk-related research is the European Commission, which spends an estimated $7.5 million per year in partnership with industry through its multiyear NANOSAFE2 and other programs.”

“The bad news is that current spending levels are not adequate to begin to answer the difficult environmental and human health impact questions raised by worker exposure to nanomaterials, by rapid consumer product commercialization and eventual disposal, and by concentrated environmental exposures from the possible application of nanoparticles to soil or water for remediation purposes in the future. These questions need answers, even though many of these new nanotechnology uses and applications have the potential to be cleaner and safer than existing alternatives,” said Maynard.

“Nanotechnologies hold tremendous promise. Many of tomorrow’s medical breakthroughs, new jobs, and communication leaps depend on it. That’s why The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Wilson Center created the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies,” according to Rejeski.

“But nanotechnology’s future depends on the willingness of government, business and public interest groups—both at home and abroad—to work together to build consumer trust and to tackle any potential health and environmental issues early. This inventory is a tremendous tool to help achieve this important goal,” said Rejeski.

####

About the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies:
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies was launched in April 2005 by the Wilson Center and The Pew Charitable Trusts. It is dedicated to helping business, governments, and the public anticipate and manage the possible human and environmental implications of nanotechnology.

For more information, please click here


Contact:
Julia A. Moore
Phone: +1 (202) 691-4025
Fax: +1 (202) 691-4001
julia.moore@wilsoncenter.org

Copyright © Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Preparing for Nano

Durnham University's DEEPEN project comes to a close September 26th, 2012

Technical Seminar at ANFoS 2012 August 22nd, 2012

Nanotechnology shows we can innovate without economic growth April 12th, 2012

Thailand to host NanoThailand 2012 December 18th, 2011

Materials/Metamaterials

Flexible Metamaterial Absorbers July 29th, 2014

Tough foam from tiny sheets: Rice University lab uses atom-thick materials to make ultralight foam July 29th, 2014

A new way to make microstructured surfaces: Method can produce strong, lightweight materials with specific surface properties July 29th, 2014

Iranian Scientists Use Waste Cotton Fibers to Produce Cellulose Nanoparticles July 29th, 2014

Announcements

Tough foam from tiny sheets: Rice University lab uses atom-thick materials to make ultralight foam July 29th, 2014

Zenosense, Inc. July 29th, 2014

Optimum inertial design for self-propulsion: A new study investigates the effects of small but finite inertia on the propulsion of micro and nano-scale swimming machines July 29th, 2014

A new way to make microstructured surfaces: Method can produce strong, lightweight materials with specific surface properties July 29th, 2014

Environment

Iranian Scientists Use Waste Cotton Fibers to Produce Cellulose Nanoparticles July 29th, 2014

Production of Toxic Gas Sensor Based on Nanorods July 28th, 2014

Researchers Use Various Zinc Oxide Nanostructures to Boost Efficiency of Water Purification Process July 13th, 2014

Using Sand to Improve Battery Performance: Researchers develop low cost, environmentally friendly way to produce sand-based lithium ion batteries that outperform standard by three times July 8th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE