Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Week of January 18, 2009
There were six major events and some minor ones. I hope you enjoy the new direction the blog is taking.
1. THE NNI AMENDMENTS
This week, the House Science and Technology Committee introduced H.R. 554, National Nanotechnology Initiative Amendments Act of 2009. It is much too early to see what effect this resolution will have since there are many more hoops. The community is watching whether there will be an increase in funding for EHS research and some others are waiting to see if a societal guru is part of the package. Selecting someone for that short list will be nearly impossible though watching some of my colleagues jockeying for position could be highly entertaining.
2. EPA’S VOLUNTARY SCHEME SHORTCOMINGS
Another set of big stories related to the poor track record for the EPA’s voluntary reporting scheme. The interim report does not bode well for the voluntary systems staving off harder regulatory options. Richard Denison goes a step further claiming the EPA “squandered precious time” with the voluntary scheme. See his blog entry for more - http://blogs.edf.org/nanotechnology/2009/01/12/62/.
While I wouldn’t go as far as Richard, there seems to be a mixed bag of success and shortcomings associated with the scheme though the successes are harder to discern than the shortcomings.
3. SMEAR CAMPAIGN ON NANOPARTICLE SUNSCREENS
This article was anticipated. What happens when an NGO, like FOE Australia, spreads misinformation about the risks of nanoparticle infused sunscreens in a country with the highest sun exposure melanoma rates in the world? Well, people stop using it and the melanoma rates increase claiming health and lives along the way. There is little evidence this has happened but apprehension was voiced by New South Wales Cancer Council this could be happening. You will definitely hear more about this since I have folks trying to determine how to generate data on this effect. If you want to read the article, it is archived at the Sydney Morning Herald and ran on January 11. (http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/smear-campaign-against-suncream-is-risking-lives/2009/01/10/1231004355070.html).
4. SILVER NANOPARTICLES AND DEFORMITIES
I am going to try to learn more about this reported conclusion for the National University of Singapore team led by chemist Suresh Valiyaveetil. This involved some human cell and zebra fish research and was reported at a Cochin conference in Kerala, India. This was reported on January 9. For more information, check ExpressBuzz (http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/default.aspx).
5. NANOENGINEERED CAPSULES TO PROTECT ACTIVE PEPTIDES FOR DELVIERY TO ANTIGEN PRESENTING CELLS
Here was a small story with a potentially large impact. This report comes from a Melbourne team headed by Frank Caruso. Caruso claims these capsules might be highly effective in stimulating immune responses. This could represent a significant development in vaccine research and we should keep tabs on this work. This was reported by Nanowerk on January 13 (http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=8863.php).
6. REMOVING LEAD FROM BLOOD
A Korean team led by Won Seok Han and Jong Hwa Jung reported this finding. Magnetic nanoparticles can presumably eliminate up to 96% from the bloodstream and this does not involve the chelation method and would work more like dialysis. The results were reported in Angewandte Chemie. This was reported in AtoZ Nano on January 15. (http://www.azonano.com/news.asp?newsID=9430).
GREEN CONCRETE in NanoWerk (http://www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=8868.php).
NANOTUBE SUPERBATTERIES in Technology Review (http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/21938/?a=f).
BIODEGRADABLE PLASTICS in Tahnhnien News (http://www.thanhniennews.com/print.php?catid=4&newsid=45235).
PEN REPORT ON NANO AND VITAMINS. See a Hard Pill to Swallow at the WWI site. See http://www.nanotechproject.org/publications/archive/pen17/.
Posted by Prof. D. M. Berube at 6:48 PM