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May 10, 2023

NNI Announces Webinars on U.S. Government Activities Addressing Micro- and Nanoplastic Issues

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) will hold two public webinars providing an overview of the key activities of U.S. government agencies in tackling the challenge of plastic waste in the environment. NNI states that the plastic waste issue includes more than just solid waste accumulation. According to NNI, the breakdown of bulk plastics to micro- and nanoscale particles in the environment “has further challenged efforts to understand the potential human and environmental impacts of plastics over their full life cycles,” leading to “a tremendous increase in national and international collaborations to identify and implement effective solutions.” The panel of speakers includes participants in the informal U.S. government nanoplastics interagency interest group that coordinates activities on this subject across the federal agencies, who will provide highlights of agency programs and activities. The first session, on May 22, 2023, will focus on activities of agencies that primarily fund or conduct research. A second session, scheduled for June 6, 2023, will focus on activities of agencies with regulatory responsibilities or that engage in interagency or international collaborations on the subject of micro- and nanoplastics.

The agenda for the May 22, 2023, session includes:

  • 10:30 — Introduction/background (Anil Patri, Director, Nanotechnology Core Facility, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), moderator);
  • 10:35 — National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): Overview (Kate Beers, Manager, Circular Economy Program, NIST);
  • 10:45 — National Science Foundation (NSF): Overview (Anne-Marie Schmoltner, Program Director, Environmental Chemistry, NSF);
  • 10:55 — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): Overview (Hongda Chen, National Program Leader for Bioprocess Engineering and Nanotechnology, USDA/National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA));
  • 11:05 — U.S. Department of Energy (DOE): Overview, including WaterPact (Ben Maurer, Sustainable Oceans Lead, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL));
  • 11:15 — National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program (Amy Uhrin, Chief Scientist, Marine Debris Division, NOAA);
  • 11:25 — U.S. Geological Survey (USGS): Overview (Shawn Fisher, Hydrologist, USGS New York Water Science Center);
  • 11:35 — National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS): Overview (Nigel Walker, Acting Chief, Systems Toxicology Branch, National Institutes of Health (NIH)/NIEHS); and
  • 11:45 — Facilitated questions and answers and discussion.

Registration for the May 22, 2023, is open.