Nanotech Risk Needs Further Study

A report from the National Research Council has pointed to serious weaknesses in the United States government’s plan for research on the potential health and environmental risks posed by nanomaterials. The report criticizes the research plan developed by the National Nanotechnology Initiative, which it says misses elements crucial for progress in understanding nanomaterials’ health and safety impacts. While the National Research Council report did not evaluate whether current uses of nanomaterials represent unreasonable risks to the public, it did focus on what would constitute an effective national research strategy. The upshot is that it recommends a new national strategic plan that goes beyond federal research to incorporate research from academia, industry, consumer and environmental groups as well as other stakeholders. The findings follow a recent report by the United Kingdom’s Royal Commission on the challenges and benefits arising from nanotechnology. Food, drugs, medical devices and cosmetics are just some of the products that may incorporate nanomaterials.  

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