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February 26, 2009

NNCO Responds to NRC Report on Nanotechnology Research Strategy

Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 13, 2009, the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) released a statement regarding the National Research Council’s (NRC) December 10, 2008, report regarding its review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) Strategy for Nanotechnology-Related Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Research.  According to the statement, NNI member agencies noted the report’s “substantial and important recommendations for further progress on EHS research,” and “look forward to working with the NRC on achieving the vital and shared goals of clearly, proactively assessing the potential benefits and risks that may be associated with specific nanomaterials in specific applications.”  NNCO notes that it “do[es] not believe that the NRC evaluation recognized the breadth and depth of the NNI commitment to EHS research. . . .  Furthermore, the report drew a number of conclusions with which the NNI member agencies respectfully disagree.” NNCO provided detailed comments to the NRC in a January 5, 2009, letter. On February 24-25, 2009, NNCO held a workshop regarding the science related to EHS aspects of engineered nanoscale materials in the area of human and environmental exposure assessment, one of the five EHS research categories identified in the Strategy for Nanotechnology-Related Environmental, Health, and Safety Research.