nanoEHS Workshop Series Reports

Subject Area:
NNI Workshop Reports
Author: Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee
Publication Date: Mar. 30 2010

Description:

These four reports are the result of a series of workshops focusing on various issues in the nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety (EHS) arena. The "nanoEHS" workshop series was a part of an ongoing strategy to coordinate nanotechnology-related EHS research by convening experts from industry, academia, and the Federal Government to share the latest information and newest developments, to discuss the current state-of-the-science, and to identify research gaps in the nanotechnology-related EHS field.

The nanoEHS workshops, along with advice from the National Academies and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), culminated in the development of an updated EHS Research Strategy for the NNI, which will guide the responsible development of nanotechnology.

The Obama Administration is committed to supporting significant research into the potential EHS impacts of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is an exciting field of research that has great scientific and economic potential because of its ability to create new materials with novel properties for application in such diverse fields as electronics and computing, alternative energy, and medicine.

The U.S. is a global leader in nanotechnology-related EHS R&D. Federal research dedicated to nanotechnology-related EHS grew substantially from $34.8 million in FY 2005 to a requested $123.5 million for FY 2012, totaling $575 million cumulatively.


Nanotechnology Fact

Exciting new nanotechnology-based medicines are now in clinical trials, which may be available soon to treat patients. Some use nanoparticles to deliver toxic anti-cancer drugs targeted directly to tumors, minimizing drug damage to other parts of the body. Others help medical imaging tools, like MRIs and CAT scans, work better and more safely. Nanotechnology is helping scientists make our homes, cars, and businesses more energy-efficient through new fuel cells, batteries, and solar panels. It is also helping to find ways to purify drinking water and to detect and clean up environmental waste and damage.

Nanomaterials are being tested for use in food packaging to greatly improve shelf life and safety. Nanosensors to detect food-borne pathogens are also being developed for food packaging. New nanomaterials will be stronger, lighter, and more durable than the materials we use today in buildings, bridges, automobiles, and more. Scientists have experimented with nanomaterials that bend light in unique ways that may enable the development of an “invisibility cloak.” The possibilities seem limitless, and the future of nanotechnology holds great potential. For more information, see Benefits and Applications.

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