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"Nanotechnology: Health and Environmental Risks of Nanoparticles" Research Strategy of the competent federal Authorities

Information on the federal authorities' research strategy

Nanotechnology is seen as the advanced technology of choice for the 21st century. It is highly innovative and opens up new opportunities for conserving resources and saving energy. However, as with all new technologies, many questions must still be answered regarding its potential effects on the environment and on the health of consumers and workers.

In order to answer the outstanding questions regarding nanomaterials and to weigh up their opportunities and risks, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA), the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) already developed a research strategy in 2007. The National Metrology Institute (PTB) and the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) have also been involved in updating and developing this strategy.

In 2013, more than 80 research projects regarding the opportunities and risk aspects of nanotechnology were examined closely in order to take stock of the strategy's outcomes for the first time. Successes were seen in, among other areas, the development of measurement and testing procedures, the identification of burdens on humans and the environment, and the assessment of risks.

In 2016, the five participating federal authorities took stock of the research strategy once again and introduced some refinements. Within this context, the title "Nanomaterials and other innovative materials: Application safety and environmental compatibility" makes it clear that the focus has been expanded to include other innovative materials in addition to nanomaterials.