Team of 15 companies and NGOs call for nanosafety funding

A group of 15 companies and non-profit organizations today sent a letter to each member of the U.S. Senate and House Appropriations Committees, calling for an increase in federal nanosafety funding. While the National Nanotechnology Initiative legislation has included funding for creating new nanotechnologies, and for studying their societal impact, it did not mandate a specific level of funds for safety testing. This letter attempts to address that oversight.

The group was led by Environmental Defense and DuPont, and includes Foresight Nanotech Institute, host to this blog. The full text and list of signatories is below. —Christine

February 14, 2006

Dear Senator:

The undersigned organizations strongly urge you to significantly increase appropriations directed to research on the health and environmental implications of nanotechnology. Although the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) has an annual budget of more than $1 billion, health and environmental implications research currently accounts for less than 4% of that amount ($38.5 million for FY06).

Nanotechnology, the design and manipulation of materials at the molecular and atomic scale, is one of the most exciting fields in high technology – one that could revolutionize the way our society manufactures products, produces energy, and treats diseases. Myriad applications of nanomaterials, which can exhibit a range of novel or enhanced properties, hold great promise, but much more needs to be known about their potential risks.

While industry, academic, and government scientists continue to vigorously explore nanotechnology’s potential applications in a wide variety of fields, such as groundwater cleanup and cancer therapy, research on nanotechnology’s potential health and environmental implications has failed to keep up. Federal research is essential to providing the underlying methods and tools critical to developing a fundamental understanding of the risk potential of nanomaterials and nanotechnologies – methods and tools that all producers and users can then use to fulfill their appropriate responsibility to identify potential risks of their own materials and applications. With increased federal funding, our society will be in a stronger position to address such risks while these materials are still in an early stage of development and commercialization. An early and open examination of the potential risks of a new product or technology is critical to responsible product development and technology application.

We appreciate your consideration of this request. For further information, please contact Mr. Terry Medley, Global Director, Corporate Regulatory Affairs, DuPont, at (302) 773-3191, or Ms. Karen Florini, Senior Attorney, Environmental Defense, at (202) 387-3500.


Air Products & Chemicals, Inc.
Altair Nanotechnologies Inc.
BASF Corporation
Carbon Nanotechnologies, Inc.
Environmental Defense
Foresight Nanotech Institute
Houston Advanced Research Center
Lux Research, Inc.
NanoBusiness Alliance
Natural Resources Defense Council
PPG Industries, Inc.
Rohm and Haas Company
Union of Concerned Scientists

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