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August 26, 2016

NIEHS-Funded Center Will Assess Safety of Engineered Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is funding a new interdisciplinary Nanosafety Research Center at the T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).  The main focus of the new HSPH-NIEHS Center is to bring together scientists from across disciplines — material science, chemistry, exposure assessment, risk assessment, nanotoxicology, and nanobiology — to assess the potential environmental health and safety implications of engineered nanomaterials.  According to an August 16, 2016, news article, the Center will focus on building a fundamental understanding of why some engineered nanomaterials are potentially more harmful than others.  The Center will also establish a “reference library” of engineered nanomaterials, each with slightly varied properties, which will be used in nanotoxicology research to assess safety.  This will allow researchers to pinpoint exactly what aspect of an engineered nanomaterials’ properties may impact health.  The researchers will also work to develop standardized methods for nanotoxicology studies evaluating the safety of nanomaterials.