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Edited by Graeme A. Hodge, Diana M. Bowman and Andrew D. Maynard
Chapter 20: Voluntary Measures in Nanotechnology Risk Governance: The Difficulty of Holding the Wolf by the Ears
Christoph Meili and Markus Widmer1 20.1 MANDATORY GOES VOLUNTARY – AND VICE VERSA The regulation of manufactured nanomaterials has been a matter of discussion among government representatives, scientists, environmental and consumer advocates and politicians since the beginning of the commercial rise of consumer products containing or claiming to contain manufactured nanomaterials. However, manufactured nanomaterials, until very recently, were not required to be explicitly labelled or registered, and due to the current lack of reliable data about their release into the environment, governments and authorities worldwide have manifested difficulties in estimating prevalent types, amounts and uses of nanomaterials on the market. This means that it has also been difficult to derive estimations of potential exposure to manufactured nanomaterials to both humans and the environment. Further, a conclusive database does not exist which lists all products containing manufactured nanomaterials in a given country or of a given sector of application. In the absence of official statistical data on the use of nanomaterials in the industry and in consumer products, the best approach to gain such overview to date is probably to visit the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies’ (PEN) (2009) web-based database on consumer products, which is based on continuous worldwide internet research. As of August 2009, more than 1000 products were included in the inventory. Much the same as with the current knowledge on information regarding nanomaterials in trade, in the early phase of technology development, regulators and others are often unable to base potential regulatory decisions on an accredited state of science...
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