Nanotech necessary for environmental sustainability, report says

May 1, 2007 — There is a growing opportunity and responsibility to leverage nanotechnology to reduce pollution, conserve resources and, ultimately, build a “clean” economy, according to a new report, from the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, called Green Nanotechnology: It’s Easier Than You Think.

The report summarizes proceedings at a national American Chemical Society symposium and four workshops held in 2006. It cites examples of research progress toward using nanotechnology to accomplish environmental goals in combination with
commercial or other objectives, and defines four categories in which nanotechnology applications and environmental interests intersect:

— Fostering new nanotechnology-enabled products and processes that are environmentally benign;

— Managing nanomaterials and their production to minimize potential environmental, health, and safety risks;

— Using nanotechnology to clean up toxic waste site and other legacy pollution problems; and

— Substituting green nanotechnology products for existing products that are less environmentally friendly.

The report recommends development of policies that actively promote pollution prevention through use of nanotechnology.

“It is not as though nanotechnology will be an option; it is going to be essential for coming up with sustainable technologies,” said Paul Anastas, director of the American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry Institute.


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