- About Us
- Career Center
- Nano-Social Network
- Nano Consulting
- My Account
Uncertainty Will Hamper Nanotechnology Commercialization
Today, the Council for Science and Technology—the British government's top-level advisory body on science and technology issues—criticized the slow progress being made in providing needed support for focused research into the potential hazards of nanotechnology. CST's comments are contained in a new review of the UK government's response to recommendations made by the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering in their landmark 2004 assessment of nanotechnology's opportunities and hazards.
"The UK government deserves a lot of credit for commissioning both the ground-breaking 2004 Royal Society report and for submitting itself to a tough review of its performance since then," said Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies chief scientist Andrew Maynard.
The new high-level review concluded that not enough is being done to address uncertainties over the environmental, health, and safety impacts of nanomaterials. The CST found funding support and effective research strategies to be lacking.
"The UK is not alone in falling short on funding for research to address the uncertainties surrounding the environmental, health and safety risks of engineered nanoscale materials" said Maynard. "Altogether, governments in the United States and other nations spend about $5 billion globally each year on nanotechnology research and development. If held up to the same scrutiny, their risk research plans and funding levels would earn equally disappointing marks."
"The specific health and safety questions that are important to be addressed for nanotechnology are reasonably straightforward," noted Maynard. "And a lot already has been published about what we know and do not know about the potential risks and about how to fill existing research gaps. Far harder is getting governments to set risk research priorities and to develop and sufficiently fund an internationally-coordinated risk research plan for nanotechnology."
Maynard proposes that the U.S. federal government invest a minimum of $100 million over the next two years in targeted risk research in order to lay a strong, science-based foundation for safe nanotechnology. According to Maynard's analysis, despite investing more than $1 billion annually on nanotechnology research, U.S. government spending on highly relevant nanotech risk research was only $11 million in 2005.
"With an estimated $2.6 trillion in manufactured goods expected to incorporate nanotechnology globally by 2014, there's a lot at stake in ‘getting it right' and in addressing nanotechnology environment and safety questions early," stressed Maynard. "As both the Republican and Democratic leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science declared last year, ‘Nanotechnology is an area of research that could add billions of dollars to our economy, but that won't happen if it is shrouded in uncertainty about its consequences.' "
"The American government needs to take action urgently in three critical areas of nanotechnology: first, documenting what relevant risk research exists; second, ensuring that agencies responsible for oversight and related research—the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food & Drug Administration (FDA), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)—are adequately funded; and third, developing a robust, top-down research plan that can be implemented by the U.S. government and used for collaborations with industry and with researchers in other countries," said Maynard.
"Nanotechnology is no longer a scientific curiosity," he added. "Nanomaterials and nanoproducts are in the workplace, the environment, and the home. But if people are to realize nanotechnology's benefits—in medicine, electronics, and sustainable energy production—governments around the world need a master plan for identifying and reducing potential risks. This plan should include a top-down risk research strategy, sufficient funding to do the job, and the mechanisms to ensure that resources are used effectively."
About The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies is an initiative launched by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable Trusts in 2005. It is dedicated to helping business, government, and the public anticipate and manage possible health and environmental implications of nanotechnology. For more information about the project, log on to http://www.nanotechproject.org .
Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, see, manipulate and manufacture things usually between 1 and 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter; a human hair is roughly 100,000 nanometers wide.
The Pew Charitable Trusts ( http://www.pewtrusts.org ) is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life. We partner with a diverse range of donors, public and private organizations and concerned citizens who share our commitment to fact-based solutions and goal-driven investments to improve society.
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars ( http://www.wilsoncenter.org ) is the living, national memorial to President Wilson established by Congress in 1968 and headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Center establishes and maintains a neutral forum for free, open, and informed dialogue. It is a nonpartisan institution, supported by public and private funds and engaged in the study of national and international affairs.
For more information, please click here
Phone: (202) 691-4016
Copyright © Woodrow Wilson International Center for ScholarsIf 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.
|Related News Press|
CEA-Leti to Share Insights into Post-7-nanometer Technologies At Workshop Prior to IEDM in Washington, D.C.: Research Includes CMOS Device Architectures, New Materials and Computing System Paradigms December 1st, 2015
Researchers find new, inexpensive way to clean water from oil sands production November 24th, 2015
Sea traffic pollutes our lungs more than previously thought November 21st, 2015
Silver Nanoparticles Coating on Paper through Biological Methods September 22nd, 2015
Nano in food and agriculture: Regulations require collaboration to ensure safety September 14th, 2015
Omni Nano and Time Warner Cable Partner to Provide Nanotechnology Education to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Los Angeles: A $10,000 Donation to Benefit Youth of Los Angeles County's Boys & Girls Clubs August 4th, 2015
Kalam: versatility personified August 1st, 2015