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Home > News > Size Matters

October 27th, 2007

Size Matters

Abstract:
When is a washing machine not a washing machine? When it's a pesticide. Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took the unusual step of ruling that Samsung's high-tech SilverCare line, which the company says kills germs by flushing 100 quadrillion nanoparticles of silver into each wash load, should be treated - and regulated - just like any other germicidal product.

The decision caused a stir in green circles: It's the closest any government agency has come to regulating nanotechnology, the science of building structures on scales 1/80,000th the width of a human hair. But officials quickly moved to dampen the excitement, saying they would only monitor products that claim to kill germs; all other nano-products - even those using exactly the same technology as Samsung's machines - would continue to go unregulated.

The move perpetuates the agency's long-standing laissez-faire approach to nanotechnology: From a regulatory standpoint, officials argue, size simply doesn't matter. Why treat nanoparticles of silver and carbon any differently than one would treat silver cutlery or carbon pencil leads?

Source:
plentymag.com

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