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Framework Document for a WRC Research Programme on Engineered Nanomaterials
Expanded Title:Nanotechnology has taken the world of science by storm since it allows for the development of new materials with extraordinary properties. Examples of novel nanotechnology applications include the development of highly accurate and sensitive medical diagnostic devices, new ways of disease therapy, and the monitoring and remediation of basic water supplies. To ensure South Africa remains competitive within the international research community in this fast-developing field, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) through the National Nanotechnology Strategy (NNS) initiated a national coordinated effort to guide the country’s nanoscience and nanotechnology (DST, 2004). The NNS directly and indirectly contributes to achieve the broader South African development goals of sustainable social and economic growth. The NNS broadly grouped the benefits of nanotechnology of national importance in South Africa in six focus areas, namely: water, energy, health, chemical and bio-processing, mining and minerals, and advanced materials and manufacturing to ensure the country derives social- and industrial-related benefits. There is a growing volume of international scientific literature expressing concern towards environmental distribution and effects of these materials due to the unique inherent physical and chemical properties of nanomaterials that make them suitable for successful application in medicine also provides them with potential for biological uptake and effects in non-target organisms. A synthesis of the available biological effects of nanomaterials in aquatic environments exists but also indicates the highly variable nature of these responses following in vivo exposure. The traditional ecological risk assessment approach with respect to regulating the environmental exposure and effects of emerging chemicals such as nanomaterials is increasingly being questioned. Emphasis is being placed on determining what properties, if any, of nanomaterials that make them uniquely different with regards to potential environmental transport and fate as well as hazards to the ecological receptors. A National Workshop on Nanotechnology Risk Assessment recently held in South Africa endeavoured to develop a road map of systematically addressing safety-, health- and environmental-related aspects of nanomaterials. Among the key outcome of this workshop was the realization of the need for the adoption of a multi-disciplinary national coordinated research programme. This would require the conceptualization of research projects that incorporates diverse skills in undertaking risk assessment of nanotechnologies. The aim of this project was to develop a strategic plan to conduct research on nanomaterials in South Africa by identifying those nanomaterials that are most likely to be released into the water and then to determine the occurrence of nanomaterials in water and the possible ecosystem and human risks associated with exposure to these materials.
Date Published:01/02/2013
Document Type:Research Report
Document Keywords:Asset Management, Benchmarking, Engineering, Technology
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Technical
WRC Report No:TT 549/12
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0371-0
Authors:Wepener V; Mamba B; Musee N
Project No:K8/955/3
Organizations:University of Johannesburg
Document Size:851 KB
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