Posted: February 18, 2007

EPA issues final nanotechnology white paper

(Nanowerk News) On Friday, the Science Policy Council of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the final version of its Nanotechnology White Paper. The purpose of the White Paper is to inform EPA management of the science issues and needs associated with nanotechnology, to support related EPA program office needs, and to communicate these nanotechnology science issues to stakeholders and the public.
The Nanotechnology White Paper provides:
– A basic description of nanotechnology
– Information on why EPA is interested in nanotechnology
– Potential environmental benefits of nanotechnology
– Risk assessment issues specific to nanotechnology
– A discussion of responsible development of nanotechnology and the EPA's statutory mandates
– An extensive review of research needs for both environmental applications and implications of nanotechnology
– Staff recommendations for addressing science issues and research needs, and includes prioritized research needs within most risk assessment topic areas (e.g., human health effects research, fate and transport research)
– An appendix that contains a description of EPA's framework for nanotechnology research, which outlines how EPA will strategically focus its own research program to provide key information on potential environmental impacts from human or ecological exposure to nanomaterials in a manner that complements other federal, academic, and private-sector research activities.
– Collaboration with other researchers is a major focus of the paper.
Background Information
In December 2004, EPA's Science Policy Council created a cross-Agency workgroup charged with describing key science issues EPA should consider to ensure that society accrues the important benefits to environmental protection that nanotechnology may offer, as well as to better understand any potential risks from exposure to nanomaterials in the environment. This paper is the product of that workgroup.
EPA released an external peer review draft in December 2005, and a Federal Register Notice (70 FR 75812) announced its availability and the opening of a docket for public comments.
Independent peer reviewers commented on the document during an April 2006 expert peer review meeting (71 FR 14205), that an EPA contractor convened, organized and conducted. The external peer review meeting was publicly held, all public comments received in the docket were shared with the peer reviewers, and members of the public were also invited to give oral or provide written comments at the workshop regarding the draft document under review.
Source: EPA