More Federal Research Sought on EHS Risks of Nanotechnology

The U.S. House Science and Technology Committee has introduced a bill that seeks to boost federal research on potential environmental, health, and safety risks of engineered nanomaterials. The bill, H.R. 554, is almost identical to one that passed the House last year by a 407-6 vote, only to die when the Senate ran out of time to act on it.

A former EPA official, J. Clarence Davies, recently released a with recommendations for improving federal risk research and oversight of engineered nanomaterials at EPA, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The "Nanotechnology Oversight: An Agenda for the Next Administration" report was published by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies.

"We know that when materials are developed at the nanoscale that they pose potential risks that do not appear at the macroscale," says David Rejeski, PEN's director. "This new bill shows that lawmakers recognize both nanotechnology's enormous promise and possible problems. The legislation reflects mounting congressional interest in understanding potential risks in order to protect the public and to encourage safe commercial development and investment."

Another recent development was a National Research Council panel's report saying a better federal strategy for understanding and managing EHS risks of nanotechnology is needed.

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