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January 18th, 2006
Charles Q. Choi: David Rejeski, director of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies in Washington, advocates a law that places the burden on nanotech manufacturers to show their products are safe, as opposed to a law like TSCA, where the burden of proof lies on the agency to show a product is risky. For instance, all products containing nanomaterials would have to go through testing and reporting requirements most likely established via international coordination. The government could take steps to ease the burden such requirements would have on smaller companies, he added.
Not all nanotechnology analysts agree new legislation is necessary. "New regulations would be a disaster at this point," said Sonia Arrison, director of technology studies at the Pacific Research Institute, a San Francisco-based public-policy think tank. "Nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter at the level of individual atoms and molecules, offers the greatest benefits for society if left to grow through modest regulation, civilian research, and an emphasis on self-regulation and responsible professional culture."
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