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Nanotechnology Research

Centers for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology opens new worlds of possibilities for important computer, medical and environmental applications. To ensure nanotechnology is developed in a responsible manner, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and EPA awarded $38 million to establish two Centers for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEINs). EPA contributed $5 million to the overall award, which is the largest award for nanotechnology research in the Agency's history.

The new centers conduct research to improve scientific understanding of nanomaterials and their possible environmental, health and safety impacts.

The two centers are located at:

University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)

The UCLA center Exit EPA Disclaimer is developing a predictive scientific model to study the environmental and health effects of different types of nanomaterials and human health faster than can be done by traditional animal toxicity testing. The model will provide information on which nanomaterials are most likely to come into contact with the environment, which animals/plants can act as early sentinels of environmental changes, and high throughput methods to screen many chemicals quickly.

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Duke University in Durham, N.C.

The center Exit EPA Disclaimer at Duke University is studying the potential environmental and biological effects on a wide range of nanomaterials - from natural to man-made, using a novel outdoor laboratory approach. The research team will develop tightly controlled and monitored ecosystems in Duke Forest in Durham, N.C. Known as "mesocosms," these living laboratories provide areas where researchers can add nanoparticles and study the resulting interactions and effects on plants, fish, bacteria and other elements.

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