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Environ Health Perspect. 2013 Apr;121(4):410-4. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1206091. Epub 2013 Feb 12.

ONE Nano: NIEHS's strategic initiative on the health and safety effects of engineered nanomaterials.

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Cellular, Organs and Systems Pathobiology Branch, Division of Extramural Research and Training, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27560, USA.



The past decade has seen tremendous expansion in the production and application of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs). The unique properties that make ENMs useful in the marketplace also make their interactions with biological systems difficult to anticipate and critically important to explore. Currently, little is known about the health effects of human exposure to these materials.


As part of its role in supporting the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has developed an integrated, strategic research program-"ONE Nano"-to increase our fundamental understanding of how ENMs interact with living systems, to develop predictive models for quantifying ENM exposure and assessing ENM health impacts, and to guide the design of second-generation ENMs to minimize adverse health effects.


The NIEHS's research investments in ENM health and safety include extramural grants and grantee consortia, intramural research activities, and toxicological studies being conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP). These efforts have enhanced collaboration within the nanotechnology research community and produced toxicological profiles for selected ENMs, as well as improved methods and protocols for conducting in vitro and in vivo studies to assess ENM health effects.


By drawing upon the strengths of the NIEHS's intramural, extramural, and NTP programs and establishing productive partnerships with other institutes and agencies across the federal government, the NIEHS's strategic ONE Nano program is working toward new advances to improve our understanding of the health impacts of engineered nanomaterials and support the goals of the National Nanotechnology Initiative.

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