The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report highlighting the need for improved performance information and cost analysis for environmental, health and safety (EHS) research as they relate to nanotechnology. As part of its analysis, GAO reviewed nanotechnology research conducted in 2010 by seven National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) member agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration.
According to the 84-page report, EHS research funding grew from $38 million in 2006 to $90 million in 2010. GAO found several problems in 2010, however, that “raise concerns about the quality of EHS funding data reported.” It also discovered, among other things, that although the member agencies most frequently focused on carbon nanotubes, nanosilver and nanoscale titanium dioxide, NNI had not prioritized nanomaterials for EHS research. GAO recommends that the Office of Science and Technology Policy (i) “coordinate development of performance information for NNI EHS research needs and publicly report this information,” and (ii) “estimate the costs and resources necessary to meet research needs.”