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Posted: August 27, 2009

Conference: Effects of nanotechnology on the environment

(Nanowerk News) The fourth international conference on "Environmental Effects of Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials" will be held in Vienna, Austria from September 6 to 9, 2009. Distinguished scientists from America, Asia and Europe will convene for scientific presentations and discussions concerning both the potential environmental hazards and the potential advantages of nanotechnology. A presentation open to the general public will also be held on the evening of Monday 7, 2009, at which renowned scientists will evaluate the risks and the potential of this exciting new technology, concluding with a podium discussion.
Artificially produced nanomaterials are classified as having at least one dimension less than 100 nm and as a result of their small size often have unique chemical, physical and optical properties. Because of these specific properties they are widely used in industry and are becoming increasingly common in everyday products such as sunscreens, clothing and foodstuffs; it has been estimated that the nanotechnology market will reach a value of around one billion Euro within the next decade. During their production, application and disposal these nanomaterials are also released into the environment (through sewage systems, for example). The behavior of these materials and their effects on organisms remain largely unexplored, but current laboratory research indicates that some nanoparticles can be hazardous to organisms, even at low concentrations.
The conference will be opened by Thilo Hofmann (head of the Department of Environmental Geosciences at the University of Vienna) on Sunday, September 6, 2009, with a workshop entitled “Get in touch with the experts”. The workshop will focus on the advantages and disadvantages of current methods and analytical techniques applicable to the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology and will include presentations by many international experts.
The actual conference will begin on Monday September 7, 2009, with an overview by Pedro Alvarez (Rice University, USA), Advisor to the American government and member of the International Council of Nanotechnology (ICON). Gregory Lowry (Carnegie Mellon University, USA), a member of the largest American network of environmental studies in the field of nanotechnology, will also be giving a talk on the subject of environmental protection. Vicki Colvin (a toxicologist from Rice University ICON, USA), Peter Kearns (OECD, Paris) and Jérôme Rose (Nanocenter, southern France) will talk about the current state of knowledge regarding the environmental hazards associated with the products of nanotechnology, the possible uses of nanotechnology in the environment, and the regulation of nanotechnology.
Altogether around 200 scientists are expected to participate in the conference (which is being held for the first time in Austria) making this the largest European conference covering this topic.
Public Talk
The general public is invited to a (free) presentation entitled, "Talking about the risk of nanotechnology: the state-of-the-art and beyond" which will be given by Antje Grobe from the Risk Dialogue Foundation in Switzerland, on Monday September 7, 2009, at 7pm. This presentation will be made in cooperation with the Austrian "Institut für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung".
The conference is supported by the Institut für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (ITA-ÖAW) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management of Austria, the Water Chemistry Society of Germany and the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) of Australia.
Conference: "Environmental Effects of Nanoparticles and Nanomaterials"
Time: 9:00 am Sunday, September 6, 2009 through to 3:00 pm Wednesday, September 9, 2009.
Registration is necessary and an attendance fee required. For further information and program details visit
Public Presentation (free of charge): "Talking about the risk of nanotechnology: The state-of-the-art and beyond"
Time: Monday, September 7, 2009, 7:00
Venue: Auditorium (Hörsaal 8), UZA 2, 1090 Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, (U4/U6 Spittelau, Tram D)
Source: University of Vienna

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