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Federal nanotech risk research plan still comes up short
Date:2/19/2008

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: www.nanotechproject.org/inventories/ehs.

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.


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Contact: Colin Finan
colin.finan@wilsoncenter.org
202-691-4321
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
Source:Eurekalert

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