NanoScale Science and Engineering
DuPont is a science company with a rich history in chemistry and materials science and strengths in biology and biotechnology. The high value of our products is based on the integration of diverse technologies to create innovative solutions that meet market needs.
Nanoscale science and engineering, or nanoscience, is the precise design and control of the shape, size or structure of materials on the scale of 1-100 nanometers to create new or enhanced nanostructure-dependent properties (e.g. chemical, mechanical, electrical, optical, magnetic, biological). This is an important area of knowledge with potential to create new growth opportunities across most DuPont businesses.
The company’s interest in nanoscale materials is a natural extension of our deep knowledge base in materials science. The nanostructure of a material has always been a fundamental determinant of its properties, since before nanoscience was identified as a distinct field of study. Today, new tools and techniques for measuring, characterizing and controlling nanoscale features present many new opportunities to meet existing needs.
At the same time, new nanoscale materials raise questions about potential health, safety and environmental impact, which are being widely considered by regulatory agencies, public and private special interest organizations, and industry and scientific forums. DuPont believes that all parties with a stake in the responsible development and use of these materials should work together to allow nanoscience to reach its full potential. In particular, we advocate:
- Coordination of research to generate reliable peer-reviewed data based on good science;
- Collaboration in the development of responsible health, safety and environmental standards and test methods; and
- Adoption of appropriate regulations as needed.
“An early and open examination of the potential risks of a new product or technology is not just good common sense – it’s good business strategy. With the right mix of voluntary corporate leadership, coordinated research, and informed regulation, we can reap the benefits of this promising technology while reducing the likelihood of unintended consequences.”
- DuPont Chairman & CEO Chad Holliday and Environmental Defense;
President Fred Krupp, Wall Street Journal, June 14, 2005
DuPont actions clearly demonstrate our commitment to the philosophy described above:
- Building on our commitment to product stewardship, DuPont established an internal process for nanomaterials stewardship, including a core policy team, an environmental health and safety advisory team, written guidance on practices, and a mandatory stewardship process for any products containing new nanomaterials.
- DuPont and Environmental Defense developed a framework for the responsible development, production, use and disposal of nanoscale materials, through a systematic process for identifying, managing and reducing potential health, safety and environmental risks across all lifecycle stages. The Framework is part of the stewardship process for any DuPont products containing new nanomaterials, and other interested parties are utilizing this resource as well (available at www.nanoriskframework.com).
- DuPont is providing international leadership in support of efforts by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to address questions about nanomaterials. Through involvement in and leadership of the BIAC (Business Industry Advisory Committee), we are actively engaged in the OECD’s Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN), which is focused on potential health and environmental issues.
- The company is a member of the American Chemistry Council Nanotechnology Panel, which is developing recommendations for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the chemical industry regarding safety, health and environmental issues and regulatory guidelines for nanoscale materials.
- The company is a member of the European Chemical Industry Association (CEFIC) and its nanotechnology working groups, which are developing industry recommendations regarding safety, health and environmental issues as well as guidelines for the safe production and use of nanomaterials. The company is representing CEFIC on the European Competent Authority working group reviewing nanotechnology in the context of the European REACH chemicals regulation.
- DuPont has provided expertise and support for the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), a 10-year $12 billion research program to date. Our involvement included participation in review groups and workshop design teams that contributed to the identification of research priorities.
- DuPont participates actively in the development of an International Standards Organization (ISO) framework for comprehensively evaluating and addressing potential environmental, health, and safety risks of nanomaterials and their applications.
- DuPont was the first company to provide product information under the EPA Nanomaterials Stewardship Basic Program.
- DuPont professionals have testified at U.S. Congressional hearings, and provided briefings to Congress and the National Academies of Science on safety, health and environmental implications of new nanoscale materials and processes.
- DuPont supported research at Rice University Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology and was a founding member of the International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON) at Rice University. ICON, with representation from industry, academia, regulatory and non-governmental organizations, was formed to “assess, communicate, and reduce nanotechnology environmental and health risks while maximizing its societal benefit.”
- In 2005, DuPont co-initiated the Nanoparticle Occupational Safety and Health Consortium (NOSH) to help address nanoparticle occupational safety and health questions. This consortium of more than 16 industry, academic and government organizations sponsored research to further the understanding of factors relevant to the assessment and control of occupational exposures to engineered nanoparticles. This work has been completed and results published.
DuPont continues to partner with members of academia and industry, along with governmental authorities and non-governmental organizations, on initiatives to promote effective stewardship in the area of nanoscale science and engineering.