I was pleased to read that the UK is beginning a study on the benefits and
risks of nanotechnology. Here at the US Environmental Protection Agency, we
have been involved in research with respect to the environmental aspects of
nanotechnology for the past two years.
Presently, we are funding 30 research proposals on applications of nanotechnology in the environment--topics such as sensors, nanocatalysts, nanomaterials for treatment and remediation and green manufacturing of nanomaterials. We also currently have 2 grants directed at environmental implications--comparing nano-based with traditional manufacturing industries and examining changes in the chemical industry due to process changes from nanotechnology (e.g., new separation technologies enabled by nanotech.) Soon (when our bureaucratic systems allows it to become public), we will solicit proposals for "Environmental Effects of Manufactured Nanomaterials," in an effort to be proactive with respect to problems that might arise. The research will cover toxicity; fate, transport, and transformation; and exposure and bioaccumulation.
We would be very much interested in keeping informed about your study and certainly will share what we learn from our research. For your information, I have attached a pdf file with abstracts of a new grantees' conference we held last August. In March, at the American Chemical Society meeting, we organized 73 papers into a 5-day symposium on "Environmental Applications and Implications of Nanotechnology." We will publish the extended abstracts and introductory material into an ACS book which should be in print next March. In May we held a research planning workshop, "Grand Challenge: Nanotech and the Environment." This meeting was one of many nano research planning workshops being held
under the National Nanotechnology Coordinating Office
There are numerous other meetings, workshops, publications in the near-term planning stages which my fingers won't allow me to continue to type. At this time, we do not have a web page for nano here at EPA, although our grants can be found at the website in my signature.
www.nano.gov has most of the government information on it, including a publication of the societal aspects of nanotech which will be updated at a conference next December. The Wilson Center also has tapes of its seminars on nano and public policy--environment included.( http://wwics.si.edu/index.cfm?fuseaction=news.item&news_id=27725#). I am also attaching a paper written by Tina Masciangioli, a AAAS Fellow here at EPA, in collaboration with Wei-Xian Zhang, one of our grantees.
I hope you find this information useful and wish you well in your study. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.
Barbara Karn, PhD
US EPA, ORD, NCER
(see attached file:EPA
Nanotechnology and the Environment)