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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > Alan Shalleck-NanoClarity > A NANOTECHNOLOGY UNDERWRITERS LABORATORY REVISITED

Alan Shalleck
President
NanoClarity LLC

Abstract:
Previously I have proposed that the Nanotechnology industry, led by the NanoBusiness Alliance (that industry supported responsible representative of what is good and beneficial about nanotech in society), and the all companies in nanotech (at all links in the value chain) create a NUL - a Nanotechnology Underwriters Laboratory - similar to the UL - Underwriters Laboratory- used by the electrical supply industry, and establish a formally recognized environmental qualification and safety stamp of approval called the NULL - Nanotechnology Underwriters Laboratory Listing. In NUL, all pending nanotechnology containing products are rigorously and responsibly tested for performance and for immediate and long-term health effects and safety, using scientific and objective protocols of acceptance and release to the market.

May 1st, 2008

A NANOTECHNOLOGY UNDERWRITERS LABORATORY REVISITED

A NANOTECHNOLOGY UNDERWRITERS LABORATORY REVISITED

By
Alan B. Shalleck
NanoClarity LLC
May 2008





With the financial markets gone south and the opportunities for public financing for nanotech companies virtually non existent, the only two sources for nanotech company financing revert back to the venture capital community and the government sector. In other words, the more things change … the more things stay the same. Therefore, let us devote some column inches to the unsettled area of nanotechnology standards and public and environmental safety.

Previously I have proposed that the Nanotechnology industry, led by the NanoBusiness Alliance (that industry supported responsible representative of what is good and beneficial about nanotech in society), and the all companies in nanotech (at all links in the value chain) create a NUL - a Nanotechnology Underwriters Laboratory - similar to the UL - Underwriters Laboratory- used by the electrical supply industry, and establish a formally recognized environmental qualification and safety stamp of approval called the NULL - Nanotechnology Underwriters Laboratory Listing. In NUL, all pending nanotechnology containing products are rigorously and responsibly tested for performance and for immediate and long-term health effects and safety, using scientific and objective protocols of acceptance and release to the market. All pending products that pass the NUL test would then receive a NULL stamp of listing in the approved product inventory, allowing all potential customers to know that the product they are about to purchase has been rigorously and responsibly tested against internationally approved standards for health and safety effects on society, and has been found, as far as the protocols will allow, to be safely sold into the applications described on the NULL listing.

Much attention worldwide is being devoted to nanotechnology standards and common language generation at the professional society and government research laboratory levels. That effort is in the right arena. Their outputs should constitute the basic input to NUL and can set agreed fundamentals in place giving the NUL instant worldwide acceptability.

What are the advantages of an ‘independent" central testing and approval lab vs. the E, H & S protocols put forward by Dupont, et. al.? Here are some:

1. NUL would build the credibility of nanotechnology with the public using one testing authority, not many or varied giving instant focus to the E, and H & S concerns of the entire industry.
2. NUL would create a transparent nanoproduct approval process for all, especially the green public, to follow and accept.
3. NUL would have the backing of the government and possibly some funding allocation.
4. NUL would collect, over time, a body of knowledge … what materials were safe, what were not, and what nanoproducts had E, H & S would receive NULL. This body of knowledge would shorten approvals of substantial equivalent products, where the only requirement for receiving a NULL would be to prove equivalency, not to repeat tests that had already been performed by other companies on similar materials.
5. NUL would be a library of approvable and unapprovable information for entrepreneurs, financiers, and scientists could come to qualify new nanotech opportunities for commercial viability in advance of investing money and time.
6. NUL would centralize the standard creation process that would save time and money worldwide, and prevent the development of multiple standards for similar nanoproducts worldwide.
7. NUL would ultimately become the focus of all green challenges to product safety and health concerns and could answered questions definitively for all concerned parties.
8. NULL could be made a standard part of most specifications throughout the world building the confidence of the buying and using public in purchasing Nanotech commercial and industrial products, and contributing to the increasingly rapid growth of the nanotechnology industry.

These are a few of the benefits a Nanotechnology Underwriters Laboratory could bring to the entire world of Nanotechnology. To date, I have received only " nice idea" comments, but with the ever increasing and disparate world wide standards efforts and the increasing cries of the informed and misinformed green scare mongers, it is time that the NanoBusiness Alliance begin to lead the charge toward resolving, in this simple idea, the questions of standards, environment, health and safety of nanotechnology. With the NanoBusiness Alliance annual conference starting next week, the time for a serious discussion of NUL could not be better.


Alan B. Shalleck
NanoClarity LLC
www.nanoclarity.com


© NanoClarity LLC 2008






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