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Sustainable Nanotechnology Initiative to Study New Environmental Risks

AECOM Environment and the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) are collaborating on the new Sustainable Nanotechnology Initiative (SNI) at UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management in an effort to understand the environmental risks associated with engineered nanomaterials.

AECOM’s Environmental Toxicology Lab and risk assessment group will collaborate with UCSB to study nanomaterial fate and transport, assist in exposure assessment and risk quantification and modeling, develop outreach programs and related training materials for use by industry involved in handling nanomaterials, and conduct “real world" testing of methods and instrumentation for the detection and characterization of nanomaterials.

While new nanotechnology-related products are brought to the market daily and are impacting global industry and society, the environmental and human health risks are largely unknown.

“New nanotechnology-related products are already impacting global industry and society, and the Bren School’s SNI is critical to helping industry and the public understand the health and environmental implications of nanomaterials,” said Robert Weber, AECOM Environment Group chief executive. “Our collaboration provides another platform to share expertise, and positions us to better assist our clients in addressing issues associated with some nanomaterials.”

AECOM Environment also is working on nanotechnology projects for other public and private sector clients, including aquatic toxicity studies for a major commercial producer of carbon nanotubes that will help determine how wastewater discharge from the production of these materials affects aquatic species.

For more information about nanotechnology, see NIOSH Offers Interim Guidance on Medical Screening, Hazard Surveillance for Workers Exposed to Nanoparticles, FDLI: Nanotechnology Risk Management Policies Needed Now and “Clean” Nanoscale Production Not Always a Reality.

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