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Medical News & Perspectives
March 21, 2012

Committee Calls for Framework to Assess the Safety of Nanotechnology Materials

JAMA. 2012;307(11):1123-1124. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.289

Nanotechnology develops materials at the molecular level, creating structures with the potential to dramatically advance a variety of fields such as energy, electronics, and medicine. But such materials may also have the potential to harm the environment and humans. In the meantime, only small steps have been taken in developing risk assessment tools and manufacturing standards.

In this uncertain environment, a committee created by the National Research Council (NRC)—which is administered jointly by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine—issued a report January 25 providing an approach for developing the research strategies and scientific infrastructure needed to address potential health and environmental risks of nanomaterials (http://tinyurl.com /6w7fd4v). The report was requested by Congress and sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency.