National Research Council report slams government strategy on nanomaterials

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Occupational safety and health

The National Research Council (NRC) has found serious weaknesses in the government strategy for managing the risks posed by nanomaterials in consumer goods.

A new report from the NRC said the development of a better plan for research into the health and public risks posed by nanomaterials was imperative in view of increased public exposure.

The majority of products containing nanomaterials are found in the health and beauty sector and their numbers are swelling with every year that passes.

Rather then evaluating the risks presented by the use of nanomaterials, the NRC report focused on the national research strategy.

Government plan described as incomplete

The research council concluded that the plan drawn up by the National Nanotechnology Initiative was incomplete.

According to the report, the plan does not provide a clear picture of the current understanding of risks presented by nanomaterials or how much should be have been achieved in 10 years time.

Research goals are missing and the list of research needs was described as incomplete and devoid of elements crucial to understanding potential health and safety consequences.

Report calls for more input from other interested parties

The report called for a new plan that goes beyond federal research to include research from universities, industry, consumer and environmental groups and others. The NNI strategy was also accused of not adequately incorporating input from industries that use and produce nanotechnologies.

“The current plan catalogs nano-risk research across several federal agencies, but it does not present an overarching research strategy needed to gain public acceptance and realize the promise of nanotechnology,”​ said committee chair David Eaton, professor of environmental and occupational health sciences, School of Public Health.

In assessing the gaps in existing research the report said the NNI plan overstates the degree to which already funded studies are meeting the need for studies on the health risks of nanomaterials.

The NRC also said federal funding to address these research needs is far less than that indicated by the NNI and may be inadequate.

Related topics Formulation & Science

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