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CEIN: Predictive Toxicology Assessment and Safe Implementation of Nanotechnology in the Environment

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CEIN: Predictive Toxicology Assessment and Safe Implementation of Nanotechnology in the Environment  (University of California-Los Angeles)

Research Focus & Anticipated Benefits

The Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEIN) was created in 2008 with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). CEIN will employ approaches that differ from traditional toxicity testing, which relies mainly on costly whole-animal studies that take a long time to complete. To keep abreast of the rapid pace of nanotechnology-based enterprises, CEIN will develop high throughput screening approaches and computerized learning technology to provide stratified risk ranking that can be used for the academic community, industry, the public and regulating agencies.

With the rapid development of nanotechnology, a wide variety of nanomaterials are now used in clothing, electronic devices, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals and other biomedical products. The potential interactions of nanomaterials with biological systems in the environment are attracting growing attention from the public, manufacturers of nanomaterials or nano-enabled products, academic researchers and policymakers. Nanotechnology is expected to become a $1 trillion industry within the next decade. CEIN will serve a critical national need to enhance our understanding of the environmental hazards of nanomaterials as well as how to do safe design to protect the environment.

Education & Outreach

CEIN will train a diverse cohort of new scientists to handle complex issues related to nanomaterials in the environment including the use of appropriate safeguards when handling or disposing of nanomaterials. CEIN will also build a cohesive network of stakeholders with interests at the interface of nanoscience and the environment, maximize productive use of nanomaterials while minimizing environmental hazards, and accurately communicate to the public the implications of nanotechnology in the environment. A communications program for journalists and scientists will improve understanding among experts and the public at large about the safety and environmental issues that surround nanotechnology.

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