to the NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL COMMITTEE FOR REVIEW OF THE
FEDERAL STRATEGY TO ADDRESS ENVIRONMENTAL, HEALTH, AND SAFETY
RESEARCH NEEDS FOR ENGINEERED NANOSCALE MATERIALS
May 5, 2008
Thank you for the opportunity to share my views today on this federal strategy for research on the environmental health and safety of nanomaterials. As Program Leader for Product Safety at Consumers Union, I have been investigating the rapid influx ofnanomaterials in consumer products for quite some time.
Particularly in the wake of disastrous decisions to formulate products with chemicals like lead and asbestos, consumers expect government to fund a well-planned public research strategy that will ensure toxicity and biological fate are well-studied before new substances are widely dispersed in commerce. However, the current pace of nanomaterial commercialization and the priorities outlined in this report do not give us confidence that
the lessons of the past are being heeded.
The document resembles a laundry list of ad hoc projects that some agencies have shoehorned into relevance for environmental health and safety. It is not a strategy that will accelerate the research needed to prevent our toxic past from repeating itself in nanoform. The document fails to articulate how the disparate projects outlined will be pulled together to glean meaningful conclusions that participating agencies can use to protect the public from dangers inherent in commercializing nanomaterials. I hope the committee’s review and our discussion today will help convince the NNI to take a more effective approach to this critical research.
For full comments, click here (PDF format).