Research, Wildlife and Landscape Science

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Nanotechnology

Mechanical soil mixer enclosed in a walk-in fumehood for health and safety reasons | Photo: Environment CanadaNanotechnology is a rapidly emerging field described as the control and structuring of matter at dimensions typically between 1 and 100 nanometres to create materials, devices, and systems with fundamentally new properties and functions.

Made by manipulating molecular and atomic sized matter, these nanomaterials behave differently from their macroscale counterparts, exhibiting different mechanical, optical, magnetic, and electronic properties.

Nanomaterials have applications addressing a wide range of issues in industry, telecommunication, bioinformatics, health, environment and consumer products. However, development of nanomaterials has outpaced the evaluation of the risks they could pose, and while some nanomaterials are benign, others may pose unknown risks to the Canadian environment and human health.

Glove box and fume hood | Photo: Environment CanadaThe Government of Canada recognizes that a balanced, stewardship approach is needed to permit the responsible introduction of nanotechnology products to Canadian society. This approach will ensure an integrated and coordinated management of economic, environmental, ethical, health and social interests, while maintaining or improving high standards of safety for both humans and the environment.

Under the provisions of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, Environment Canada is working with Health Canada to conduct environmental risk assessments and manage any risks arising from industrial chemical substances entering the Canadian market. The unique nature of nanomaterials requires the development of new scientific risk assessment techniques and standards to determine if exposures and effects of nanomaterials have any impact on the environment.

Wildlife and landscape science researchers focus research efforts on:

Glove box in the nanotechnology research laboratory | Photo: Environment CanadaExperts in nanotechnology

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