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National Nanotechnology Coordinating Office (NNCO) Interagency Research Meeting/Workshop – Nanotechnology and the Environment: Applications and Implications

SUMMARY 6 Oct., 2003

Approximately 75 government, academic, and industry participants convened September 15 and 16 for the Interagency meeting sponsored by the NNCO-- Nanotechnology and the Environment: Applications and Implications.

Monday morning's program consisted of 5 plenaries and a panel from 7 NSET agencies. The plenary speakers addressed the NNI and current activities in nanotechnology, the implications to the environment of new technologies and the new industrial revolution, tools and facilities for the study of nanotechnology, the relationship of nature and nanotechnology, and an industrial view of nanotechnology and the environment. Panelists discussed how their respective agencies viewed their research agenda as it relates to the environment--applications to and prevention of environmental problems, and possible harmful effects that might arise. EPA, NSF, DOE, DOD, USDA, NIST, and FDA participated on the panel.

Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning were dedicated to technical talks by Federal grantees. 9 papers in applications of nanotechnology with respect to the environment covered catalysts, sensors for environmental pollutants, pollution clean-up, energy conversion, and environmentally benign manufacturing. 9 more papers discussed implications of nanotechnology with respect to the environment. These addressed exposure to nanomaterials, medical applications, nanoparticles in the natural environment, toxicity of nanoparticles, and nanoscale studies in food. Grantees were represented from EPA, DOE, NIST, DOD/NRL and ARO, NST, USDA, NIH, and NASA.

Monday evening's dinner speaker addressed the public perceptions of new technologies and how scientists can help inform this perception with respect to nanotechnology, learning from the genetically modified food experience.

The conference ended with discussion breakouts on 5 topics: Economic benefits of nanotechnology for the environment; Workplace and manufacturing issues; Precautions, procedures and perceptions, Creating a nanotechnology/environmental community (communications, interactions, international links, agency cross-cutting issues); and Research needs.

The agenda, attendees, abstracts and presentations will be posted within 6 weeks on a web site-to be determined. Contact Barbara Karn ( or Nora Savage ( for more information.



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