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July 19th, 2006

On Green Nano

David Berube: Now there seems to be an effort afoot in the USA to color code nano. Allegedly, the Green Nano Initiative (GNI) attempts to create a green foundation for the nanotechnology industry involving fewer reagents, less solvent, and less energy having a milder environmental impact than current technology (Ritter, 2006). The framework for this initiative would also include a clearer understanding to the life cycle implications associated with nanomaterials and nanoproducts. The initiative involves policy incentives to encourage a “green” nanotechnology industry which presumably would use energy efficiently and produce minimal waste. This might involve tweaking regulations that discourage substitution of new “nano” technologies for older ones. It also includes the encouragement of remediation, solar energy, and water treatment technologies. Finally, it involves reducing the environmental health and safety (EHS) footprint the industry will impose on workers and society. While there has been reporting that regulators and experts have launched the GNI, this seems to be mostly the work of Barbara Karn on detail from the U.S. EPA and a visiting scientist at the Woodrow Wilson Center. The GNI is also supported by the Woodrow Wilson Institute GreenNano series of workshops.


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