Nanotechnology safety research awards in USA and UK

Teams of researchers in the USA and the UK have been awarded a total of $12 million by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to support innovative research on the safety of nanotechnology.

EPA and NERC are leading this scientific research effort to better understand the potential risks to people’s health and the environment. The scientific information developed from the research can help guide agencies in decisions about the safety of new materials and products that are made using nanotechnology.

“The responsible development of nanotechnology can play a major role in sustaining a positive, healthy environment, a vibrant and growing economy, and a high standard of living,” said Paul Anastas, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research & Development. “Understanding the risks posed by engineered nanomaterials is a global challenge that is best met through international collaboration, drawing on the combined expertise of researchers from diverse backgrounds.”

The grants EPA has awarded will help researchers determine whether certain nanomaterials can leach out of products such as paints, plastics, and fabrics when they are used or disposed of and whether they could become toxic to people and the environment. Many industries, including membranes for water treatment and desalination, can benefit from the positive applications of nanotechnology. 

In the USA, EPA has awarded $5.5 million and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has contributed $500,000 through a new research partnership between the two agencies. Grant awards were made to three consortia consisting of researchers from the US. and the UK.

Each US team of researchers received $2 million from EPA and CPSC for a total of $6 million. Each UK team also receives $2 million from UK agencies, resulting in a grand total of $12 million to conduct the research.

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