International Handbook on Regulating Nanotechnologies
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International Handbook on Regulating Nanotechnologies

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.
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Chapter 9: Producing Safety or Managing Risks? How Regulatory Paradigms Affect Insurability

Thomas K. Epprecht


Thomas K. Epprecht1 The possibilities – and the inherent risks – associated with nanotechnology are only just beginning to unfold. The insurance industry, an enabler of risk taking, focuses on understanding these risks in order to help its business partners to mitigate the financial consequences of possible losses. Nanotechnology offers immense innovation potential across many disciplines. Further, as with acceleration and miniaturization in information technology, technological convergence in the nano-sphere will increasingly change the lives of many on a daily basis. Regulation provides the framework for both freedom and responsible action. It is there to facilitate living together rather than to limit the horizon of potential prospects. A technological leap, as promised by nanotechnology, notably accentuates the question of balance and therefore deserves particular attention. Against this background we address here the purpose of regulation, the influence that regulatory regimes and societal environments can have on insurability, the role of the insurance industry in society and how the availability or denial of insurance cover impacts on regulation. 9.1 INTRODUCTION: THE PURPOSE OF REGULATION Nanotechnology, as does every new technology, solves existing problems as well as creating new ones. Therefore, scientific, economic and regulatory bodies invest an enormous amount of energy into risk management and loss prevention to avoid or minimize the impact of potential problems before they emerge. Safety is an indispensable part of any technology and we can no longer imagine making use of a technology without strict safeguards. However, arguably because there is so much emphasis today put on safety,...

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