A Mexican Moratorium

Sneaking in just before the new year is a call for a Mexican moratorium on further commercialization of nanomaterials. The justification is that the “popularity (of nanomaterials) among big producers could displace farmers and other suppliers of traditional manufacturing inputs. The connotations of test-tube biodiversity and intellectual property patenting are among conundrums.”

Looks like a cut and paste job to us. Substitute GMOs for nanomaterials and you could be winding the clock back ten years rather than ushering in a new year. Actually ETC have been popping up in a number of developing countries recently demanding that progress he halted forthwith. While there are safety issues associated with any new material, equating nanomaterials with GMOs is heading in entirely the wrong direction. It might be a good time to re acquaint ourselves with the findings of the 2004 Royal Society Study which considered the issue of a moritorium:

We considered this carefully. While there is some evidence that nanoparticles can be more toxic than larger forms of the same chemical we do not believe that a moratorium is necessary provided that:
– Rapid action is taken to implement our recommendations
– an appropriate regulatory regime can be established
– the risk of adverse impacts on human health or the environment can be reduced to an acceptable level

It seems that we are indeed well on the way to fulfilling those criteria, in Europe, North America and Japan at least.

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