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International risk research strategy and funding needed for nanotech safety

es 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 Maynards 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, theres 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 wont 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 researchthe 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 nanotechnologys benefitsin medicine, electronics, and sustainable energy productiongovernments around the world need a master plan for identifying and reducing pot
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Contact: Sharon McCarter
sharon.mccarter@wilsoncenter.org
202-691-4016
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
27-Mar-2007


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