EPA council sets priorities

A white paper released Feb. 15 by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Policy Council outlines the agency’s nanotechnology-research needs. The group calls for continued research into the ecological and health risks of nanotechnology, prevention of pollution by nanomaterials, and nanotechnology to benefit the environment.

For example, the report suggests that the agency support research on nanotechnology’s uses in green energy and in environmental remediation. It also recommends a long list of projects to assess risks from nanotechnology, including tracking the fate of nanomaterials in the environment and measuring people’s exposures and the effects that follow.

Included is a plan from EPA’s Office of Research and Development for how the agency should pursue these research recommendations over the next 5 years.

Initially, EPA would focus on the environmental fate of nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes. Such studies will require further development of monitoring and detection methods, according to the report. The agency will use these data to assess exposures of wildlife and people. Next, it will focus on examining health and ecological effects. Finally, the agency will concentrate on ways to manage the risks of nanotechnology.

Aimee Cunningham

Aimee Cunningham is the biomedical writer. She has a master’s degree in science journalism from New York University.

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