In the Washington Watch article in the September 2008 issue of the BioScience, Natalie Dawson explores environmental risk and Nanotechnology in the United States.

An excerpt from the article follows:

Nanoscience, or nanotechnology, is science or technology that creates functional materials from atomic particles. Once considered to be little more than science fiction, nanotechnology is now a well-established field, as evidenced by various new journals and federally funded research programs, as well as myriad new products ranging from industrial materials to cosmetics. According to the Woodrow Wilson Center's Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN), more than $60 billion in nanorelated products were sold in 2007, and this number could more than double by the end of 2008. Estimates are that by 2014, more than 15 percent of all products on the global market will have some kind of nanotechnology incorporated into their manufacturing process. This technology boom raises an important question: what is being done to address the environmental risks associated with nanotechnology?

As companies, federal laboratories, and international unions call for more research funding for nanotechnology, emerging scientific investigations into the effects of nanorelated materials on the environment and human health reveal potential problems…

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