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 16: Regulation of Nanoscale Materials under Media-specific Environmental Laws

Linda K. Breggin and John Pendergrass


Linda K. Breggin and John Pendergrass1 16.1 INTRODUCTION Nanoscale materials can be regulated under a host of media-based environmental laws. To date, however, most countries have not relied upon or fully assessed the use of media-based environmental laws to regulate nanoscale materials. Instead, as discussed by the authors of Chapters 12, 13 and 15, regulators have focused for the most part on laws that apply to chemical substances, food, and cosmetics as the primary vehicles for addressing potential risks posed by nanoscale materials. Widmer and Meili (2010) highlight how, for example, United States (US) regulators have focused their attention on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) – the key US chemicals laws – and European Union (EU) regulators have focused on the newly-enacted Registration Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH), which governs the production and importation of chemical substances within the European market. In addition, regulators in jurisdictions such as the EU and Australia are using, or considering the use of, food and cosmetics laws to address risks posed by nanoscale materials (see, for example, Gergely et al., 2010; van Calster and Bowman, 2010). This chapter examines the application of media-based environmental laws to nanoscale materials. It specifically excludes laws that govern chemicals, food, cosmetics, and worker safety, which are covered elsewhere in this Handbook.2 The reliance to date on laws that focus on chemical substances in particular is understandable, as discussed more fully below, because such laws typically attempt to address potential...

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