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Panel blasts federal nanotech risk research strategy
Date:12/10/2008

Washington, DC A National Research Council (NRC) committee today issued a highly critical report describing serious shortfalls in the Bush administration's strategy to better understand the environment, health and safety (EHS) risks of nanotechnology and to effectively manage those potential risks.

The report, Review of the Federal Strategy to Address Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials, calls for a significantly revamped national strategic plan that will minimize potential risks so that innovation will flourish and society will reap nanotechnology's benefits.

Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) Director David Rejeski maintains the "lessons learned" in the NRC report offer a silver lining that will help guide the administration of President-elect Barack Obama.

"It is disappointing that the Bush administration did not listen to PEN experts and repeated calls from nanotech industry and congressional leaders from both parties for an improved and revamped risk research plan for nanotechnology. Their delay has hurt investor and consumer confidence. It has gambled with public health and safety. It has jeopardized the $14 billion investment governments and private industry have made in this technology and its great promise for huge advancements in health care, energy and manufacturing. But I am encouraged that the NRC assessment will provide a roadmap for the next administration to make up for this lost time. It's time to get the job done and to get it done right," says Rejeski.

The risk research plan developed under the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) has been widely criticized by consumer groups, chemical industry representatives and congressional lawmakers from both major parties as lacking a clear vision and the resources necessary to improve understanding of the potential risks posed by nanomaterials.

The new NRC report, written by a highly regarde
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Contact: Colin Finan
colin.finan@wilsoncenter.org
202-691-4321
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
Source:Eurekalert

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