Nanotechnology Project


Congressional Hearing on Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology: How Well do we Understand the Environmental and Safety Implications?

WASHINGTON – Tomorrow, the House Science Committee will hold a hearing to examine whether the federal government is adequately funding, prioritizing, and coordinating research on the environmental and safety implications of nanotechnology.

By 2014, it is estimated that there could be $2.6 trillion worth of products in the global marketplace which have incorporated nanotechnology. There is significant concern in industry, however, that the projected economic growth of nanotechnology could be undermined by either real environmental and safety risks of nanotechnology or the public’s perception that such risks exist. Recently, some reports have indicated that these concerns are causing some companies to shy away from nanotechnology-related products and downplay nanotechnology when they talk about or advertise their products.

At a Science Committee hearing last fall, business, government and environmental leaders testified that more focused research into the environmental and safety implications of nanotechnology is vital to the future success of the industry.

Tomorrow’s hearing will explore the following overarching questions:

  • How much is the federal government spending on research on environmental and safety impacts of nanotechnology? How are funding levels determined? Are current federal research efforts adequate to address concerns about environmental and safety ramifications of nanotechnology?

  • What are the priorities for federally-supported research on the environmental and safety impacts of nanotechnology? How are these priorities determined, and are the current priorities appropriate?

  • What impacts are environmental and safety concerns having on the development of nanotechnology-related products and their entry into the marketplace? What impact might these concerns have in the future?

  • Are additional steps needed to improve management and coordination of federal research in this area?

Thursday September 21, 2006

Committee on Science – Hearing
Research on Environmental and Safety Impacts of Nanotechnology: What are the Federal Agencies Doing?
10:00am – 12:00pm
2318 Rayburn House Office Building


  • Dr. Norris E. Alderson is the Chair of the interagency Nanotechnology Environmental and Health Implications Working Group and the Associate Commissioner for Science at the Food and Drug Administration.

  • Dr. Arden L. Bement, Jr. is the Director of the National Science Foundation.

  • Dr. William Farland is the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Science in the Office of Research and Development at the Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Dr. Altaf H. (Tof) Carim is a Program Manager in the Nanoscale Science and Electron Scattering Center at the Office of Basic Energy Sciences in the Department of Energy.

  • Dr. Andrew Maynard is the Chief Science Advisor for the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

  • Mr. Matthew M. Nordan is the President and Director of Research at Lux Research Inc., a nanotechnology research and advisory firm.

The hearing charter, which provides detailed background information on the hearing, is available on the Science Committee website. Member opening statements and witness testimony will be posted to the website at the start of the hearing.

All Full Committee and subcommittee hearings and markups are webcast live on the Committee website: The website also includes an archive of webcasts from previous hearings.