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EPA Awards Over $9 Million to Universities for Research to Help Predict the Implications of Chemicals on Human Health and the Environment

On April 10, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced research grants to Arizona State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara to better understand the impacts of chemicals and nanomaterials throughout their life cycle—from design, manufacture, use and disposal.

by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
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This DNA tetrahedron is an artificially designed nanostructure of the type made in the field of DNA nanotechnology. Each edge of the tetrahedron is a 20 base pair DNA double helix, and each vertex is a three-arm junction. The EPA has awarded over $9 million to universities to research the effects such nanomaterials and other chemicals have on the environment and human health.Image credit: Antony-22, Wikimedia Commons“EPA is committed to understanding how chemicals and materials can affect human health and the environment,” said Lek Kadeli, acting Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Research and Development. “This research will advance the science of chemical life cycle assessments and provide tools to design safer chemicals, while enabling a healthy economy and safer society.”

Arizona State University’s research will evaluate the trade-offs between using nanomaterials to improve the functionality of consumer products and the potential risks to humans and the environment. The University of California, Santa Barbara’s research will develop an online tool to evaluate life cycle impacts of chemicals which industry, academia and other decision makers can use to make more informed decisions about chemical and product design.

As more is understood about the impacts of chemicals throughout their life cycle, this research will influence future scientists and decision makers to consider the associated benefits and consequences of chemicals, which will help create a healthier economy and a safer society.

In September 2012, EPA partnered with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to encourage collaboration in applying principles of sustainability to chemical management issues, including design, manufacture, use, and disposal. In 2013, NSF awarded more than $16 million in grants to Yale University, University of Kansas, University of Arizona and Colorado State University for research on sustainable molecular design of chemical alternatives. These grant awards further EPA’s and NSF’s commitment to increase knowledge of chemical life cycles and sustainable chemistry.

For more information on the chemical life cycle grants issued by EPA visit:

For more information on the sustainable molecular design awards issued by NSF visit: