Environmental Defense gets proactive about nanotech: "The science of the very small has big potential: improved energy generation, information technology, health care delivery and a wide range of other applications, including some with potentially enormous environmental benefits. But as with any potentially revolutionary technology, it only makes sense to look before we leap. .. New physical and chemical properties represent what's both exciting and worrisome about nanotechnology. While the ability of some nano particles to pass through a cell or skin could lead to breakthroughs in a cure for cancer or in the detection of Alzheimer's, these same features can pose environmental and health risks. .. Environmental Defense is starting to work with companies looking into this important new technology to make sure both positives and negatives are considered beforehand. We're also advocating to increase federal funding for research into nanotechnology's potential risks, and pushing to enhance safety regulations to ensure that nanotechnology products are properly evaluated before getting to market.
There is a flurry of activity around nanotechnology in government agencies and at scientific conferences. The U.S. government alone is investing approximately $1 billion per year in nanotechnology research and development. We are pushing government to allocate at least 10% of that investment towards understanding the implications of the nanotechnology applications being developed. We are working with the International Council on Nanotechnolgy, the American National Standards Institute and the American Society for Testing and Materials, as they begin to develop consensus standards for several aspects of nanotechnology; such standards may help shape government regulations down the road. We're also exploring partnering with individual companies to develop risk management to develop standards, and sharing information with a wide array of scientific and environmental organizations. ..
This is the promising future of this exciting new science, and our hope is to ensure that with proper attention paid now to the risks, we can avoid the mistakes of the past while reaping the benefits that nanotechnology may bring. " 12:25:44 PM