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NSF and EPA establish 2 centers for environmental implications of nanotechnology
Date:9/17/2008

ctive for use in everything from computer hard-drives to sunscreens, cosmetics and medical technologies.

With the rapid development of nanotechnology and its applications, a wide variety of nanomaterials are now used in clothing, electronic devices, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and other biomedical products.

The potential interactions of nanomaterials with living systems and the environment have attracted increasing attention from the public as well as manufacturers of nanomaterial based products, academic researchers, and policy makers. Nanotechnology is expected to become a $1 trillion industry within the next decade.

However, the environmental implications of these materials are only beginning to be understood.

The UCLA CEIN, to be housed at the California NanoSystems Institute on the UCLA campus, will explore the impact of nanomaterials on the environment and on interactions with biological systems at all scales from cellular to ecosystem.

At the Duke University CEIN, researchers plan to define the relationship between a vast array of nanomaterials--from natural to man-made to incidental, byproduct nanoparticles--and their potential environmental exposure, biological effects and ecological consequences. Nanomaterials that are already in commercial use as well as several present in nature will be among the first materials studied.

"We are deeply committed to insuring that nanotechnology is introduced and implemented in a responsible and environmentally-compatible manner," said Andr Nel, Chief of the Division of NanoMedicine at UCLA, who will serve as the UCLA center's director. "We see the UC CEIN as providing an important service to our nation and beyond."

Traditional toxicity testing relies mainly on a complex set of whole-animal-based toxicity testing strategies. "This approach cannot handle the rapid pace at which nanotechnology-based enterprises are generating new materials and ideas," said Nel,
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Contact: Cheryl Dybas
cdybas@nsf.gov
703-292-7734
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

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