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Chapter 23: International Coordination and Cooperation: The Next Agenda in Nanomaterials Regulation
Robert Falkner, Linda K. Breggin, Nico Jaspers, John Pendergrass and Read Porter Nanotechnologies are set to transform industrial society. They promise benefits in a wide range of applications, from health care to food, cosmetics, chemicals, information technology and energy storage. The manipulation of matter or creation of structures down to the molecular level (typically at a scale of approximately 100 nanometres or less, a nanometre being one-billionth of a metre) has led to the creation of novel materials, so-called engineered nanomaterials, which are already being used in numerous consumer products. Additional commercial applications can be expected in coming years. Our understanding of how nanomaterials interact with the environment and the human body has not kept pace with the development of nanotechnologies. Early results of research suggest that the safety of all nanomaterials cannot be taken for granted (see, for example, the recent reviews by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering (RS-RAE) (2004) and the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) (2008). The ongoing expansion of nanotechnologies may produce novel nanostructures that cause currently unknown forms of hazard. Developing nanomaterials governance that is both effective and proportional to potential risks is critical to the future success of existing and emerging nanotechnologies. The aim of this chapter is to identify key challenges in developing more effective and internationally coordinated nanomaterials regulation. It seeks to stimulate the debate on how to promote more convergent regulation, primarily between the European Union (EU) and United States (US), but also at the international...
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