Science and Technology Innovation Program
View Official Report Release Page The inability of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to carry out its mandate with respect to simple, low-tech products such as children’s jewelry and toy trains bodes poorly for its ability to oversee the safety of complex, high-tech products made using nanotechnology, according to E. Marla Felcher.
John Crowley, research fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and public policy scholar with the Wilson Center Science and Technology Innovation Program. A. Ross Johnson, research fellow with the Hoover Institution and also a senior scholar with the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program.
A 2010 analysis by the Synthetic Biology Project found that the U.S. government spent around $430 million on research related to synthetic biology since 2005, with the Department of Energy funding a majority of the research. By comparison, the analysis indicated that the European Union and three individual European countries – the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Germany – had spent approximately $160 million during that same period. Approximately 4 percent of the U.S. funding and 2 percent of the European funding was being spent to explore ethical, legal, and social implications of synthetic biology, but no projects focused on risk assessment.
In partnership with the Pew CharitableTrusts, the Wilson Center will work with industry, academia, NGOs, and others to explore the future of nanotechnologies and their implications for the environment and human health.
From laptop computers to sunscreens to stain-resistant clothing, nanotechnology is gaining ground in the consumer products marketplace. The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies launches the only publicly available, online, and searchable inventory of nanotechnology-based consumer products.