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International Assessment of Research Needs for
Nanotechnology Environment, Health and Safety Research

Workshop 1: Towards Nanomaterials Classes

January 9 and 10, 2007

NIH Campus, Bethesda, Maryland

Agenda and Presentations

List of background documents:  used to prepare for workshop

Workshop 2 Information


Meeting Purpose:
This invitation only workshop was the first of two international workshops to develop an International Nanomaterial Environmental Health and Safety (NanoEHS) Research Needs Assessment. The ultimate goal of this project was to prioritize research needed to establish a science-based assessment of potential risk of differnet classes of nanomaterials and the principles that relate properties to predicted risk factors. Without an overarching framework of this type, nanomaterial risk assessment will continue to be done on a case-by-case basis. Such an individualized approach is of limited value given the nearly endless variations in composition, size, shape, surface chemistry and other physico-chemical properties that can be engineered into nanomaterials.

There have been several efforts aimed at summarizing the current state of knowledge about the interactions of nanomaterials with living systems and the resultant documents will provide vital input to the present effort. However, this project has led to a prioritization of research needs and a detailed plan for meeting those needs. Moreover, this effort was the first international, multi-stakeholder activity engaging governments, universities, industry, and non-governmental organizations in prioritizing specific research needed for different classes of nanomaterials.  

To develop this framework, ICON planned to hold two meetings. The January 2007 meeting had as it purpose to  (a) develop a matrix of classes of nanomaterials that includes critical physical properties, known bio-interactions, potential applications, volumes, and potential hazards, and (b) propose a prioritized timeline for when research results would be needed for different classes. This information would feed into the second workshop, to be held in Europe in June 2007, in which a detailed plan for research needed to establish toxicological principles for the classes of nanomaterials would be developed along with potential mechanisms to accelerate progress.


This workshop is supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF Award Number BES-0646107, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Council on Nanotechnology.



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This work is supported in part by the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Initiative of the National Science Foundation
under NSF Award Number EEC-0118007.

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