December 10, 2008
American Chemistry Council, Evonik Degussa Corporation, BASF Corporation, NanoBusiness Alliance, DuPont, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Lux Research, Inc.
The above organizations issue the following statement in response to today’s release of the National Academies’ National Research Council’s (NRC) review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative’s Strategy for Nanotechnology-Related Environmental, Health and Safety Research.
The undersigned organizations are members of an informal coalition of small and large companies, trade associations, environmental NGOs, and research organizations that for the past three years have been urging the federal government to increase its focus on the potential health and environmental impacts of nanotechnology.
We are pleased that the NRC’s report, Review of the Federal Strategy to Address Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials, presents such a thorough and forthright review of the NNI’s strategy document. Its report echoes concerns our organizations have raised since the release of the strategy in February 2008.
The NRC report lends all the more urgency to our coalition’s call for the independent development of a comprehensive roadmap to guide federal research on the EHS implications of nanotechnology. Our call was echoed last year by the U.S. Congress, in language contained in the Senate Committee report accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2008.
That legislation, signed by President Bush on December 26, 2007, expressed Congress’s intent that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contract with the National Academy of Sciences’ (NAS) Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology (BEST) to “develop and monitor implementation of a comprehensive, prioritized research roadmap for all Federal agencies on environmental, health and safety issues for nanotechnology.” Under the provision included in the legislation, Congress urged EPA “to contract or enter into a cooperative agreement with the National Academy of Sciences’ Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology within 90 days of enactment” (by March 21, 2008) to develop and monitor implementation of the research strategy.
Unfortunately, the action called for by Congress has yet to take place. We urge the federal agencies comprising the NNI to act immediately to implement what Congress and a broad spectrum of stakeholders have requested.