Table of Contents

International Handbook on Regulating Nanotechnologies

International Handbook on Regulating Nanotechnologies

Elgar original reference

Edited by Graeme A. Hodge, Diana M. Bowman and Andrew D. Maynard

As scientists and technologists discover how to engineer matter at the nanoscale in increasingly sophisticated ways, conventional approaches to ensuring safe use are being brought into question. Nanotechnologies are challenging traditional regulatory regimes; but they are also prompting new thinking on developing and using emerging technologies safely. In this Handbook, leading international authors from industry, government, non-governmental organisations and academia examine the complex and often controversial regulatory challenges presented by nanotechnologies. Across several disciplinary boundaries, they explore how the future regulatory landscape may evolve. From the Europe Union to the United States, workplaces to personal products, and statutory instruments through to softer approaches, it is clear that considerable vigilance will be needed in governing these powerful and novel technologies. To succeed, society will need new thinking, new partnerships and new mechanisms to balance the benefits of these technologies against their possible downsides. Anything less will prompt cries of illegitimacy and potentially compromise a promising new realm of technology innovation.

Chapter 12: Approaching the Nanoregulation Problem in Chemicals Legislation in the EU and US

Markus Widmer and Christoph Meili

Subjects: innovation and technology, technology and ict

Extract

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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