EPA Rounds on washing machines and rounds up nanotech

 The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who have had a growing interest in nanotech recently released a White Paper on Nanotechnology from their point of view. It is worth filing for the good overview alone. The conclusions are below, and while there is nothing really new, it’s good to see high level support for both research and the sharing of information, something that is essential if the plethora of various nanotoxicology initiatives are not to waste time performing each others research in parallel.

6.1 Research for Environmental Applications. EPA should undertake, collaborate on, and support research on the various types of nanomaterials to better understand and apply information regarding their environmental applications.

6.2 Research for Risk Assessment. EPA should undertake, collaborate on, and support research on the various types of nanomaterials and nanotechnologies to better understand and apply information regarding:
i) chemical identification and characterization,
ii) environmental fate and treatment methods,
iii) environmental detection and analysis,
iv) potential human exposures, their measurement and control,
v) human health effects assessment,
vi) ecological effects assessment, and
vii) conducting case studies to further identify unique risk assessmentconsiderations for nanomaterials.

6.3 Pollution Prevention, Stewardship and Sustainability. EPA should engage resources and expertise as nanotechnology industries form and develop to encourage, develop and support nanomaterial pollution prevention at its source and an approach of stewardship. Detailed pollution prevention recommendations are identified in the text. Additionally, the Agency should draw on the “next generation” nanotechnologies for applications that support environmental stewardship and sustainability, such as green energy and green manufacturing.

6.4 Collaboration. EPA should continue and expand its collaborations regarding nanomaterial applications and potential human and environmental health implications.

6.5 Intra-Agency Workgroup. EPA should convene a standing intra-Agency group to foster information sharing regarding risk assessment or regulatory activities for nanomaterials across program offices and regions.

6.6 Training. EPA should continue and expand its activities aimed at training Agency scientists and managers regarding potential environmental applications and environmental implications of nanotechnology.

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