Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanotechnology Oversight Recommended

Date:
March 19, 2007
Source:
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
Summary:
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 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.

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 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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. "Nanotechnology Oversight Recommended." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070314093242.htm>.
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. (2007, March 19). Nanotechnology Oversight Recommended. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070314093242.htm
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. "Nanotechnology Oversight Recommended." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070314093242.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) An electric car that proponents hope will replace horse-drawn carriages in New York City has also been revealed at the auto show. (Apr. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

AFP (Apr. 17, 2014) It walks and runs, even up and down stairs. It can open a bottle and serve a drink, and politely tries to shake hands with a stranger. Meet the latest ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins