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Nanotechnology report urges better safety standards

Mostly positive findings on the National Nanotechnology Institute suggest safety and measuring economic returns as areas for improvement

kerry grens
Kerry Grens

Kerry served as The Scientist’s news director until 2021. Before joining The Scientist in 2013, she was a stringer for Reuters Health, the senior health and science reporter at...

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A new report from the National Research Council's Committee to Review the National Nanotechnology Initiative delivers a mostly positive review of the initiative's progress in overseeing the government's role in developing nanotechnologies. However, the report also points to places where improvement would be possible, including determining the potential safety risks associated with nanomaterials and tracking economic returns on federal funding.The committee's first triennial review, requested by Congress, praised the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) for its efforts in coordinating nanotechnology research and development across government agencies. However, the report calls for expanding research funds to establish safety standards for workers, consumers, and the environment. "The body of published research addressing the toxicological and environmental effects of engineered nanomaterials is still relatively small," the report states. Committee chair James Williams, a professor at Ohio State University, said, "There is some concern that the effort nationally?I don't know whether it's fair to...

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