Opportunities and Challenges for EPA
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As an emerging transformative technology, nanotechnology offers unique environmental promise. EPA's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grants program nurtures the development of targeted nanotechnology applications to benefit the environment. EPA's Office of Research and Development also is planning research directions for environmental applications and implications of nanotechnology through participation in the interagency nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology subcommittee of the White House National Science and Technology Council that coordinates implementation of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). In addition to these research initiatives, other EPA program offices are now exploring challenging issues that arise from the fundamental question of whether existing legal frameworks and regulatory programs are adequate to address the manufacture and marketing of nanotechnology products, and assuming so, how best to assess whether nanotechnology and products of nanotechnology should be regulated, and how, under existing legal authorities. The presentation will consider some of the issues facing EPA, the regulated community, and policy makers in addressing the adequacy of the existing legal framework to address the impacts of nanotechnology, EPA's role in this area, the role of other federal agencies, and the challenges facing government and other stakeholders in preparing for a future that could be filled with nanomaterials.