Study in Progress
A Research Strategy for Environmental, Health, and Safety Aspects of Engineered NanomaterialsBoard on Environmental Science and Toxicology
Statement of Task
The National Research Council will develop and will monitor the implementation of an integrated research strategy to address the environmental, health, and safety aspects of engineered nanomaterials. This study will create a conceptual framework for environmental, health, and safety-related research; develop a research plan with short- and long-term research priorities; estimate resources necessary to implement this research plan; and subsequently evaluate research progress over a three year period. The committee will take into consideration current and emerging uses of engineered nanomaterials and the scientific uncertainties related to physical and chemical properties, potential exposures, toxicity, toxicokinetics, and environmental fate of these materials. In its evaluation the committee will also consider existing research roadmaps and progress made in their implementation.
Two reports will be prepared over a 4-year period. The first report, which will be released within 18 months of study inception, will present a conceptual framework and priorities for the research program, identify the most important short-term and longer-term research priorities, develop a strategy for monitoring and evaluating research progress, and estimate the resources needed to implement this strategy. A second and final report at the end of the study will evaluate research progress and update the research priorities and resource estimates based on results of studies and emerging trends in the nanotechnology industry.
The first report will consider:
- What properties of engineered nanomaterials need to be considered to assess their potential exposures, toxicity, toxicokinetics, and environmental fate? What standardization of testing materials is needed?
- What methods and technologies are needed for detecting, measuring, analyzing, and monitoring engineered nanomaterials? What gaps in analytical capability need to be addressed?
- What exposure, toxicology, toxicokinetic, human health and environmental fate studies are needed for assessing the risks of engineered nanomaterials?
- What testing methods should be developed for assessing the potential toxicity, toxicokinetics, and environmental fate of engineered nanomaterials?
- What models should be developed for predicting the impacts of engineered nanomaterials on human health and the environment?
- What are the research priorities for understanding lifecycle risks to humans and the environment from applications of nanotechnology?
- What criteria should be used to evaluate research progress?
The second report will address the following issues:
- How has the state of understanding of the health, environmental, and safety aspects of nanotechnology changed and how does this affect the research priorities?
- How have market and regulatory conditions changed and how does this affect the research priorities?
- Are the criteria for evaluating the research progress on the health, environmental, and safety aspects of nanotechnology appropriate?
- Considering the criteria developed, to what extent have short-term and long-term research priorities been initiated and implemented?