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August 4, 2011

NANO Act Promotes Development and Responsible Stewardship of Nanotechnology

Lynn L. Bergeson

Representative Mike Honda (D-CA) re-introduced on August 1, 2011, the Nanotechnology Advancement and New Opportunities Act (NANO Act), which seeks to promote the development and responsible stewardship of nanotechnology in the U.S. According to Rep. Honda, the legislation is designed to maintain the U.S.’s leadership role in nanotechnology research by promoting the development and commercialization of the results. At the same time, the NANO Act addresses concerns raised about the potential health and safety risks associated with nanotechnology. It would require the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) to develop a report for Congress outlining a national nanotechnology development strategy after consulting with relevant federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institute of Environmental Health and Safety (NIEHS), and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) on nanotechnology’s potential risks. Through creation of research priorities for the federal government and industry that will help ensure development and responsible stewardship, the NANO Act looks to remove uncertainty about risk and future federal regulation — resolving uncertainty as one of the major obstacles to commercialization. The NANO Act also includes provisions to create partnerships, raise awareness, and implement policies promoting nanotechnology, including public-private investment partnerships; grant programs supporting research and education; tax credits for investments, education, and training in nanotechnology; and directing the National Science Foundation (NSF) to partner with industry to encourage development of training to support nanotechnology manufacturing.