Reference Presenter Authors
Katrina Varner Varner, K.(US EPA/ORD/CEMM/WECD/MMB); Forecast and prevent exposure. Protect the environment. Provide sustainable solutions. That is Exposure 21. The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) welcomes, works with and supports fellow federal agencies and governments working in the area of nanotechnology to bring Exposure 21 to the forefront of our research. Along with society becoming more aware of nanotechnology, in linking science with social issues, it has become a growing research and implementation field. The US EPA’s, role of leadership in the nanotechnology arena was established with our initiation and continued support and guidance of the Environmental Nanotechnology Gordon Research Conference as well as its roll-off institution, the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization. Collating our work with others maximizes the impact of our work, specifically with Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the various emerging chemicals of concern (CoC). This presentation is a highlight of the US EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) leadership in exposure science bridging to risk assessment in the 21st Century through guidance and tools for characterizing, assessing, and reducing risks from environmental events. The US EPA develops exposure methods for emerging CoC to increasing discoveries of risk analysis and management of environmental events. The advancement of these novel materials and emerging compounds in the commercial sector has facilitated vast improvements with modern technology. Many of these innovative chemical compounds have resulted in enhanced quality of life which includes use in daily living, sophisticated medicinal applications, decreasing energy needs and increase of computational power. The environmental impacts, especially as considered through life cycle assessment, remain newly researched with limited available information. There are many challenges in protecting the environment as materials are developed and used, including the prevention of unintended consequences of exposures to humans and the ecosystem. It is a critical priority for the US EPA to provide chemical evaluations, of which nanomaterials are the number one emerging CoC. Understanding the long-term health and environmental effects of these newly formed materials and communicating with the public about exposure, risks and benefits is our priority. The US EPA is working to ensure the safety of chemicals and prevent pollution while working toward a sustainable future for the planet and our children. Our current research areas regarding CoC, specifically, nanomaterials are to: a) develop a nanomaterial database, named NaKnowbase, containing published research results from EPA’s ORD and amendable to informatic analyses; b) gather research data to evaluate specific chemicals and frame broader assessment activities within timelines mandated by the new TSCA implementation law; c) integrate risk information system using Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs) enabling 21st century chemical evaluations which include monitoring, community engagement (citizen science), modeling and sensor technologies; d) integrate science assessments creating evaluations and syntheses of the most policy-relevant science for reviewing TSCA chemicals, for example, terrestrial plant responses to engineered nanomaterials (ENMs); and e) investigate emerging technologies and environmental contaminants including 3D printers and micro- and nano-plastics.
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