Nanotechnology and Environmental, Health, and Safety: Issues for Consideration [August 6, 2008]   [open pdf - 242KB]

This CRS report examines the environmental, health, and safety concerns that could arise as a result of the emerging field of nanotechnology. More specifically, "this report identifies the potential environmental, health, and safety opportunities and challenges of nanotechnology; explains the importance of addressing nanotechnology EHS [environmental, health, and safety] concerns; identifies and discusses nanotechnology EHS issues; and summarizes options for Congressional action, including the nanotechnology EHS-related provisions of selected legislation. The report also includes two appendices. Appendix A provides an overview of selected nanotechnology EHS activities of federal regulatory agencies. Appendix B provides an overview of selected EHS-related international engagement efforts of NNI [National Nanotechnology Initiative] agencies. [...] Nanotechnology -- a term encompassing nanoscale science, engineering, and technology -- is focused on understanding, controlling, and exploiting the unique properties of matter that can emerge at scales of one to 100 nanometers. These properties are believed by many to offer substantial economic and societal benefits. A key issue before Congress regarding nanotechnology is how best to protect human health, safety, and the environment as nanoscale materials and products are researched, developed, manufactured, used, and discarded. While the rapidly emerging field of nanotechnology is believed by many to offer significant economic and societal benefits, some research results have raised concerns about the potential [EHS] implications of nanoscale materials. Potential tools the Federal government might use to address these concerns include research and development, regulation, and international engagement."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL34614
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
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