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 25: From Novel Materials to Next Generation Nanotechnology: A New Approach to Regulating the Products of Nanotechnology

J. Clarence Davies


J. Clarence Davies1 The promise of nanotechnology is enormous. Its applications span a very wide range of processes and products. In the next few decades it will result in huge increases in computer speed and capacity, cures for several different types of cancer, much more efficient lighting and battery storage, a huge reduction in the cost of desalinating water, clothes that never stain and glass that never needs cleaning. The benefits are almost limitless. However, if the benefits are to be realized, it will be necessary to examine and manage the adverse effects of nanotechnology. The effort to understand and manage nanotechnology’s effects will be long-term. As the world community tries to ensure that adverse effects of the technology are minimized, understanding of these effects will steadily increase. At the same time, as the technology advances and commercial applications multiply, new challenges and problems will arise. This chapter focuses on what a United States (US) oversight system of the future might look like. Its purpose is to stimulate thought and discussion about how to bridge the huge gap between the current oversight systems, which were developed in the twentieth century, and the new technologies of the twenty-first century. Although the focus is on the US, many of the problems and suggested solutions articulated in this chapter are applicable to other developed nations as well. Before describing a new oversight system, the chapter discusses the characteristics that make such a new system necessary. 545 M2421 - HODGE TEXT.indd 545 2/11/10 14:...

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