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Home > Press > Nanotechnology: Thinking Big About Things Small

Abstract:
New Report Looks Beyond Specific Statutes at Effective Oversight System.

Nanotechnology: Thinking Big About Things Small

Washington, DC | Posted on March 7th, 2007

Nanotechnology—the so-called "science of the small"—is raising some really big questions about the adequacy of the current federal oversight system. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is grappling with understanding the jurisdiction and applicability of major laws, like the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), with respect to nanotechnology. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is evaluating the effectiveness of the agency's regulatory approaches and authorities to meet the potential unique challenges presented by the use of nanomaterials in FDA-regulated products, and the agency expects to issue its findings in July 2007.

A new report by former EPA official Mark Greenwood, Thinking Big About Things Small: Creating an Effective Oversight System for Nanotechnology, urges policymakers to focus more attention on how core assumptions about risk assessment and risk management that underlie existing health and environmental regulations will translate from the macro world to the nano world. It also emphasizes that how the government ultimately oversees nanotechnology will have major impacts on business strategies, intellectual property, and the evolving structure of the industry. It argues that these issues should be discussed now, in the early stages of commercialization, rather than later.

A panel of speakers including Mr. Greenwood, Stephen Harper of Intel Corporation and Richard Denison of Environmental Defense will examine the report's conclusions at a program organized by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. The event and live webcast will take place on Wednesday, March 14th at 10:00 a.m. in the Board Room on the 6th Floor of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars ( http://www.wilsoncenter.org/directions ).

Mr. Greenwood, who is currently a partner in the law firm Ropes & Gray, worked for EPA for over 16 years. He held a variety of senior positions in the Office of General Counsel, managing legal issues in areas as diverse as pesticides, toxic chemicals, hazardous waste management, Superfund, and environmental reporting. From 1990-1994, he was director of the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics. Mr. Harper is the director of Environment, Health, Safety, and Energy Policy for the Intel Corporation. Dr. Denison is a senior scientist in the Health Program at Environmental Defense.

*** Webcast LIVE at http://www.wilsoncenter.org/nano ***

What: Thinking Big About Things Small: Creating an Effective Oversight System for Nanotechnology

Who: Mark A. Greenwood, Partner, Ropes & Gray

Richard A. Denison, Senior Scientist, Health Program, Environmental Defense

Stephen Harper, Director, Environment, Health and Safety & Energy Policy, Intel Corporation

David Rejeski, Director, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, Moderator

When: Wednesday, March 14th, 2007, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Where: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Board Room, 6th

Floor, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004

####

About The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
This event is being organized by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. The Project was launched in 2005 by the Woodrow Wilson Center and The Pew Charitable Trusts. It is dedicated to helping business, governments, and the public anticipate and manage the possible health and environmental implications of nanotechnology.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Sharon McCarter
(202) 691-4016

Copyright © Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

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