Navigation Links
Federal nanotech risk research plan still comes up short

WASHINGTON, DC An improved but still flawed government-wide plan for nanotechnology risk research is the result of a broken system. Federally-funded studies essential to managing possible risks from this cutting-edge technology should be guided by a top-down strategy tied to projected commercialization, expected human and environmental exposures, and the regulatory decision-making process.

The National Nanotechnology Initiatives (NNI) Nanotechnology Environmental and Health Implications (NEHI) Working Group recently released its strategy for nanotechnology environmental, health and safety research. The strategy outlines an improved focus on risk research for more than 20 federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Earlier drafts of the strategy received widespread criticism from industry officials, policy experts and congressional lawmakers for being merely a list of general nanotechnology risk research categories. The new strategy makes substantial strides towards identifying prioritized research needs and assigning lead agencies to address these needs.

Also just released, the new EPA Office of Research & Development nanotechnology risk research plan appears to be in lock step with the NEHI strategy. The EPA plan includes important studies on risk assessment methods and life-cycle analysis to determine the eventual fate of nanomaterials.

But major hurdles still stand in the way of the public, industry and government obtaining a better understanding of the risks posed by nanomaterials and how to limit those risks. Necessary resources for nanotechnology risk research are few and far between in relevant oversight agencies such as the EPA, FDA and CPSC. In addition, a limited investment by the NNI on occupational exposure research can only increase dangers to those most susceptible workers.

The truth is that while the NEHI made significant strides in this latest effort to present an improved nanotechnology risk research strategy, only about five of the more than 240 identified risk research projects focus on exposure assessment which directly affects workers. These are the people who are on the front line and most likely to be exposed to potentially hazardous nanomaterials, says David Rejeski, the director of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN).

The document also fails to employ a top-down, strategic approach aimed at directing funds and research at the places where theres likely to be the most risk, according to Rejeski. The NEHI structure and plan are still broken. The plan is a collection of individual agency research programs and not a strategic approach appropriate to a technology projected to be incorporated into $2.6 trillion worth of products by 2014.

An earlier analysis by PEN shows that in FY2005, the U.S. government spent only about one percent of the overall $1.2 billion federal nanotechnology research investment on highly relevant risk research. For more information, see:

The current strategy suggests that things have improved, but according to Rejeski only 40% of the listed research projects are highly relevant to understanding potential nanotechnology risksthe remaining 60% have only tangential relevance. Transparency over what is being done and what needs to be done is essential to strategic planning. The cited $68 million invested in nanotechnology risk research in fiscal year 2006 is an inflated estimate of work that directly addresses the issues, and that can only further confound the formulation of an effective strategic plan.


Contact: Colin Finan
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies

Related biology technology :

1. Forest Laboratories Announces Federal Appeals Court Upholds Lexapro(R) Patent Decision
2. Federal Trade Commission Clears Kyphons Acquisition of Non-Vertebroplasty Spine-Related Assets of Disc-O-Tech
3. NIH Announces Advanced Cell Technologys Single Cell Embryo Biopsy Technique as a Means to Derive Embryonic Stem Cells to be Considered for Federal Funding
4. Zimmer Announces Settlement of Federal Investigation
5. DelSite Nasal Powder Technology Could Reduce Recently Reported Waste in Federal Vaccine Program
6. Federally-Funded Study Shows More Women Can Avoid Hysterectomy for Common Problem
7. Cephalon Statement on Federal Trade Commission Action Regarding PROVIGIL Patent Settlements
8. Stevens to host Nanoscience/Nanotechnology & Corrosion symposium, Nov. 13
9. NASA technology forms the basis for a new nanotechnology company
10. Superbugs, shapes and nanotechnology
11. Siemens and Xintek Form Joint Venture to Develop Nanotechnology-Enabled Multi-Pixel X-ray Tubes
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics ("iCo" or ... financial results for the quarter ended September 30, ... Canadian dollars and presented under International Financial Reporting ... ," said Andrew Rae , President ... iCo-008 are not only value enriching for this ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 2015 , ... International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) closed ... events for pharmaceutical manufacturing: 2015 Annual Meeting. The conference took place in Philadelphia, ... number of attendees in more than a decade. , “The 2015 Annual ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... N.C. , Nov. 24, 2015  Clintrax Global, Inc., a ... North Carolina , today announced that the company has set ... represented a 391% quarter on quarter growth posted for Q3 of ... and Mexico , with the establishment ... in December 2015. --> United Kingdom ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... This fall, global software solutions leader SAP and AdVenture Capital brought together ... their BIG ideas to improve health and wellness in their schools. , Now, the ... title of SAP's Teen Innovator, an all-expenses paid trip to Super Bowl 50, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/12/2015)... Nov. 12, 2015  A golden retriever that stayed ... dystrophy (DMD) has provided a new lead for treating ... the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the ... . Cell, pinpoints a protective ... the disease,s effects. The Boston Children,s lab of ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... , Nov. 10, 2015  In ... on the basis of product, type, application, ... included in this report are consumables, services, ... report are safety biomarkers, efficacy biomarkers, and ... this report are diagnostics development, drug discovery ...
(Date:11/4/2015)... New York , November 4, 2015 ... to a new market report published by Transparency Market ... Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2015 - 2022", the global ... of US$ 30.3 bn by 2022. The market is ... the forecast period from 2015 to 2022. Rising security ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):