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Legislation that would emphasize the need for federal agencies to address environmental, health and safety questions concerning nanotechnology was approved by the House Science Committee on May 7, 2008. The bill, H.R. 5940, would direct federal agencies to take several steps to help private companies commercialize various applications of nanotechnology. The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) would also be required to develop a road map to ensure that needed research is funded and set near-term and long-term goals for research.
The legislation also would require the National Nanotechnology Coordinating Office, which acts as a secretariat to the federal agencies participating in the NNI, to establish a database detailing the projects federal agencies have under way addressing environmental, health and safety questions along with efforts they are making to educate the public about nanotechnology, to educate future scientists and to address ethical, legal and other societal issues.
Additionally, as approved by the Committee, research centers established under the bill would be required to study "green nanotechnology," referring to production methods that would use less hazardous material, energy or water or have other environmental benefits compared with traditional manufacturing methods. (Source: FEMA, FMA)