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The Environmental Protection Agency has decided to spend a measly $4 million studying the health and environmental risks posed by manufactured nanoparticles–only 0.1 percent of the $3.7 billion the federal government has committed to the technology over the next four years. It’s almost as if they’re afraid what they might find out. An EPA official calls it “infinitely morethan has ever been done before,” and theoretically she’s right–because none has been done before, despite the advances that have already taken place in the field. Activist groups like Environmental Defense and the ETC Group are calling for funding more like $100 million–more appropriate for a field that’s growing fast and is predicted to change the future, and one for which deleterious effects have already been found in fish. You can’t find what you don’t go looking for, and this is too little, too late.

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