NNI Releases 2011 EHS Research Strategy

Representatives of the federal agencies that participate in the National Nanotechnology Initiative, including OSHA and NIOSH, took part in an Oct. 20 webinar to discuss the new document.

A new document outlining the federal government's plans for researching nanotechnology's health and environmental impacts was released Oct. 20 as leaders of the National Nanotechnology Initiative took part in a webinar to explain its key elements. NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard was the moderator.

The 136-page 2011 NNI Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Strategy discusses research work to date and provides guidance to federal agencies that produce the scientific information for risk management, regulatory decision-making, product use, research planning, and public outreach. The core research areas providing this information are (1) Nanomaterial Measurement Infrastructure, (2) Human Exposure Assessment, (3) Human Health, (4) Environment, (5) Risk Assessment and Risk Management Methods, and (6) Informatics and Modeling.

More than 25 federal agencies, from NIOSH to NASA to EPA and the Department of Defense, have representatives on the National Science and Technology Council's Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology. Howard and Treye Thomas of the Consumer Product Safety Commmission are co-chairs of the subcommittee's Nanotechnology Environmental and Health Implications Working Group.

The Working Group reviewed the status of nanotechnology-related human health research and sought stakeholder comments, leading to its identification of six areas of research necessary to achieve two goals:

  • Understanding the relationship of physico-chemical properties of engineered nanoscale materials to in vivo physico-chemical properties and biological response
  • Developing high-confidence predictive models of in vivo biological responses and causal physico-chemical properties of engineered nanomaterials

This section of the strategy document says the FY 2009 investment for human health research projects increased by $17.6 million and by 17 projects from FY 2006. Agencies supporting the projects were DoD, CPSC, EPA, FDA, NIH, NIOSH, NIST, and the National Science Foundation.

The archived webinar is available on the Nano TV page of the NNI website.

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