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$4 Million in Grants to Research Environmental Impact of Nanotechnology

Release Date: 11/12/2004
Contact Information:


Contact: Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-4355 / ackerman.suzanne@epa.gov

(11/12/2004) EPA has awarded grants to 12 universities to investigate the potential health and environmental impacts of nanomaterials: unusually small man-made particles that are measured in billionths of a meter (nanometers). Nanotechnology allows scientists to work at the molecular level, atom by atom, to create materials and structures with fundamentally new functions and characteristics. Nanotechnology is a promising new field that may lead to great advances in environmental protection. For example, filter systems for drinking or waste water could be designed at the nanoparticle level to remove even the most minuscule of impurities. Nanoscale materials are being used in a wide range of products, such as sunscreens, composites, medical devices and chemical catalysts. As new nanomaterials are manufactured, there is the potential of human and environmental exposure from waste streams or other pathways entering the environment. Currently there is very limited scientific information on the effects of nanomaterials on human health and the environment. Six of the grants awarded will investigate if manufactured nanomaterials could have any negative health effects or environment impacts. The other six grants will study the fate and transport of nanomaterials in the environment. The grants were awarded through EPA's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) research grants program. More information on the nanotechnology STAR grants and the 12 recipients is available at: http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipients.display/rfa_id/352