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Nanotechnology Research

Research Priorities

The Nanotechnology Research Program has identified four key research activities where it can support the science needs of EPA and the National Nanotechnology Initiative which coordinates federal reseach and development activities in nanotechnology.

The research areas and key scientific questions being addressed by scientists are:

  • Sources, Fate, Transport, and Exposure
    • What technologies exist, can be modified, or must be developed to detect and quantify manufactured nanomaterials in environmental media and biological samples?

    • What are the major processes and/or properties that govern the environmental fate, transport, and transformation of manufactured nanomaterials, and how are these related to the physical and chemical properties of those materials?

    • What are the exposures that will result from releases of manufactured nanomaterials?

  • Human Health and Ecological Effects Research to Inform Risk Assessment and Test Methods
    • What are the health effects of manufactured nanomaterials and their applications, and how can these effects be best quantified and predicted?

    • What are the ecological effects of manufactured nanomaterials and their applications, and how can these effects be best quantified and predicted?

  • Risk Assessment Methods and Case Studies
    • In what ways, if at all, do risk assessment approaches need to be amended to incorporate special characteristics of manufactured nanomaterials?

  • Preventing and Managing Risks
    • Which manufactured nanomaterials have a high potential for release from a life-cycle perspective and what decision-making methods and practices can be applied to minimize the risks of nanomaterials throughout their life cycle?

    • How can manufactured nanomaterials be applied in a sustainable manner for treatment and remediation of contaminants?