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Edited by Graeme A. Hodge, Diana M. Bowman and Andrew D. Maynard
Chapter 12: Approaching the Nanoregulation Problem in Chemicals Legislation in the EU and US
Markus Widmer and Christoph Meili 12.1 INTRODUCTION A lot is at stake. Not only are there high hopes in the economic potential of nanotechnologies, but significant progress is also expected in areas such as medical treatments, energy efficiency and the environmentally friendly production of goods. The opportunities that will result from the use of the novel properties of manufactured nanomaterials are largely undisputed and have led to nanotechnologies being mentioned in the same breath with ‘key technology of the 21st century’ (see, for example, Smrcka, 2009). As more and more consumer products incorporating manufactured nanomaterials or nanotechnology processes enter the market, the broad and somewhat vague term of ‘nanotechnologies’ has also attracted continuous attention from a range of commentators including the public, the media and a number of civil society actors. Exploitation of the novel properties of manufactured nanomaterials creates products with increased functionalities. Not surprisingly, these same properties of nanomaterials have also been identified as potentially being associated with novel risks. Of particular concern are tiny (nano) particles, which have been shown to be able to enter the body through unexpected paths and exhibit interactions with tissues that have previously not been observed. Toxicologists are concerned, not only by potential short-term effects, but even more by the potential of manufactured nanomaterials to harm humans and the environment over the long term. Awareness of nanotechnology risks has thus dramatically risen in recent years among researchers, the industry, lawmakers, regulators, environmental advocates and (to some limited extent) the broader public alike....
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