Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Nanotechnology Oversight Requires Thinking Outside the Box

Abstract:
Former EPA Official Says Now Is Time to Consider Regulatory Questions, Mechanisms

Nanotechnology Oversight Requires Thinking Outside the Box

Washington, DC | Posted on March 13th, 2007

With hundreds of nanotechnology-enabled products already on the market and many more in the commercial pipeline, a new report by a former senior Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official urges policymakers to give greater attention to the challenges of crafting an oversight system that can effectively address health and safety issues particular to nanoscale materials and devices.

"It is time for government, industry, the scientific community, non-governmental organizations and other interested parties to begin a more systematic discussion about the core elements of an oversight framework for nanoscale materials" writes Mark Greenwood in Thinking Big About Things Small: Creating an Effective Oversight System for Nanotechnology. Greenwood worked for EPA for over 16 years and was director of EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics from 1990 to 1994.

The report was released at an event sponsored by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Project is a partnership between the Wilson Center and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

"Public discussions of nanotechnology oversight over the last few years have been dominated by two topics: research priorities and the potential jurisdiction of various health and environmental statutes over nanoscale materials," said Greenwood. "Not enough attention is being given to the policies that should be used to define acceptable and unacceptable risk and to determine appropriate management practices."

Greenwood distills three sets of issues that he proposes as the defining elements of an effective oversight system: risk criteria, information reporting requirements and risk management tools. The report identifies, in each of these three areas, some of the key policy questions that will be particularly important to consider, regardless of the form of oversight. Greenwood also emphasizes that the policies established in these three areas will "shape the overall social and economic trajectory of nanotechnology and determine what kinds of nanoscale products and companies can prosper in the future."

"Ultimately," suggests David Rejeski, director of the Wilson Center's Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, "existing regulatory approaches likely will prove to be suboptimal. Novel problems require novel solutions, and the oversight of nanotechnology will require ‘out of the box' thinking. As an alternative, this report suggests that a number of statute-independent questions need to be answered by government, industry, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders."

"There is much at stake," said Rejeski. "How the oversight system evolves at this early stage will have significant impacts on industry structure, the competitive strategies of firms, and approaches to intellectual property. It can ultimately define who can ‘play' or not, especially if the costs of testing and data submissions are high. These impacts have not received the attention they deserve but need to be addressed as soon as possible."

Greenwood also emphasizes the importance of openness in the risk-management decision-making process. "While recognizing the need to protect intellectual property and to be sensitive to other business concerns, efforts to devise an effective nanotechnology oversight system should explore ways to assemble information so that the public feels it is adequately informed," said Greenwood. "Stakeholders must engage in pragmatic discussions about the ground rules for transparency. The need for this discussion is no more distant than nanotechnology itself. And this means that this discussion should start now."

####

About The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies is an initiative launched by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable Trusts in 2005. It is dedicated to helping business, government and the public anticipate and manage possible health and environmental implications of nanotechnology. For more information about the project, log on to http://www.nanotechproject.org .

The Pew Charitable Trusts is a national charitable organization serving the public interest by informing the public, advancing policy solutions and supporting civic life. Based in Philadelphia, with an office in Washington, D.C., the Trusts will invest $248 million in fiscal year 2007 to provide organizations and citizens with fact-based research and practical solutions for challenging issues.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is the living, national memorial to President Wilson established by Congress in 1968 and headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Center establishes and maintains a neutral forum for free, open, and informed dialogue. It is a nonpartisan institution, supported by public and private funds and engaged in the study of national and international affairs.

About the Author

Mark Greenwood is currently a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Ropes & Gray, where he practices environmental law. Before joining Ropes & Gray in 1994, Mark worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 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 EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics.

About Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, see, manipulate and manufacture things usually between 1 and 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter; a human hair is roughly 100,000 nanometers wide.

The market opportunity for nanotechnology is substantial. Nanotechnology was incorporated into more than $30 billion in manufactured goods in 2005—more than double the previous year. In 2014, Lux Research projects that $2.6 trillion in global manufactured goods will incorporate nanotechnology, or about 15 percent of total output. The U.S. invests approximately $3 billion annually in nanotechnology research and development, which accounts for approximately one-third of the total public and private sector investments worldwide.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Sharon McCarter
(202) 691-4016

Copyright © Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Graphene key to growing 2-dimensional semiconductor with extraordinary properties August 30th, 2016

Analog DNA circuit does math in a test tube: DNA computers could one day be programmed to diagnose and treat disease August 25th, 2016

New approach to determining how atoms are arranged in materials August 25th, 2016

Johns Hopkins scientists track metabolic pathways to find drug combination for pancreatic cancer August 25th, 2016

Investments/IPO's/Splits

Industrial Nanotech, Inc. Provides Shareholder Update August 22nd, 2016

Carbodeon Ltd Oy Closes EUR 1.5 million Funding Round From Straightforward Capital: Carbodeon will accelerate its nanodiamonds business and expand manufacturing capacity August 21st, 2016

Leading Advanced Materials Manufacturer Pixelligent Closes $10.4 Million in Funding: Capital Will Boost Capacity for North American Manufacturing, Drive Asian Expansion, and Continue Innovation in Solid State Lighting and OLED Display Applications August 16th, 2016

Harris & Harris Group to Host a Shareholder Update Call, Including a Presentation by One of Its Precision Health and Medicine Portfolio Companies, Muses Labs, Inc., on August 23, 2016 August 16th, 2016

Announcements

Graphene key to growing 2-dimensional semiconductor with extraordinary properties August 30th, 2016

University of Akron researchers find thin layers of water can become ice-like at room temperature: Results could lead to an assortment of anti-friction solutions August 30th, 2016

Nanocatalysis for organic chemistry: This research article by Dr. Qien Xu et al. is published in Current Organic Chemistry, Volume 20, Issue 19, 2016 August 30th, 2016

Meteorite impact on a nano scale August 29th, 2016

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

University of Akron researchers find thin layers of water can become ice-like at room temperature: Results could lead to an assortment of anti-friction solutions August 30th, 2016

Nanocatalysis for organic chemistry: This research article by Dr. Qien Xu et al. is published in Current Organic Chemistry, Volume 20, Issue 19, 2016 August 30th, 2016

Continuous roll-process technology for transferring and packaging flexible LSI August 29th, 2016

Meteorite impact on a nano scale August 29th, 2016

Environment

Nanofur for oil spill cleanup: Materials researchers learn from aquatic ferns: Hairy plant leaves are highly oil-absorbing / publication in bioinspiration & biomimetics / video on absorption capacity August 25th, 2016

Researchers watch catalysts at work August 19th, 2016

Down to the wire: ONR researchers and new bacteria August 18th, 2016

SLAC, Stanford gadget grabs more solar energy to disinfect water faster: Plopped into water, a tiny device triggers the formation of chemicals that kill microbes in minutes August 15th, 2016

Safety-Nanoparticles/Risk management

UK NANOSAFETY GROUP publishes 2nd Edition of guidance to support safe working with nanomaterials May 30th, 2016

PETA science group publishes a review on pulmonary effects of nanomaterials: Archives of Toxicology publishes a review of scientific studies on fibrotic potential of nanomaterials May 26th, 2016

Common nanoparticle has subtle effects on oxidative stress genes May 11th, 2016

Non-animal approach to predict impact of nanomaterials on human lung published Archives of Toxicology publishes workshop recommendations May 2nd, 2016

Human Interest/Art

Weizmann Institute of Science Presents: Weizmann Wonder Wander - 4G - is Online June 21st, 2016

Call for NanoArt and Art-Science-Technology Papers June 9th, 2016

Scientists propose non-animal tools for assessing the toxicity of nanomaterials: Particle and Fibre Toxicology publishes recommendations from expert group meeting April 26th, 2016

Are humans the new supercomputer?Today, people of all backgrounds can contribute to solving serious scientific problems by playing computer games. A Danish research group has extended the limits of quantum physics calculations and simultaneously blurred the boundaries between mac April 14th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic