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Federal research plan to determine nanotech risks fails to deliver
Date:9/13/2007

WASHINGTON, DCAlmost a year in the making, a federal plan to prioritize research on the potential environmental, health, and safety (EHS) impacts of nanoscale materials has so many failings that its begs the question as to whether the governments 13-agency nanotechnology research effort is able to deliver an effective risk research strategy, according to David Rejeski, head of the Wilson Centers Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies.

Currently, the federal nanotechnology risk research agenda is a bit like a ship without a captain, and it is unclear who has the responsibility to steer this ship in the right direction and make sure that it reaches its destination, Rejeski said in comments on the new government report, Prioritization of Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials. His full comments, along with those of project chief scientist Andrew Maynard, are available at www.nanotechproject.org.

Released for public review on August 16, the 8-page government report was prepared by a working group of the Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology Subcommittee (NSET), part of the federal governments National Science and Technology Council. In September 2006, the same working group issued a list of nearly 70 EHS research needs necessitated by advances in nanotechnology and subsequent commercialization efforts. The new report responds to some 40 public comments on the prioritization criteria described in last years document.

Although the new NSET report pares down the original listing to a shorter laundry list of 25 research activities, the end result is a simplistic list of priorities, says Rejeski. Furthermore, he states: It falls far short of the carefully crafted, prioritized federal nanotechnology EHS research plan urgently called for over the past two years by leaders from both parties in Congress, industry, investment firms, scientists and consumer groups. Notably absent are important d
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Contact: Julia Moore
nano@wilsoncenter.org
202-691-4025
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
Source:Eurekalert

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