A Nanotech Moratorium – With More Exceptions

The American Bar Association’s Annual Conference on Environmental Law, held last week in the U.S., featured a session entitled “Making Way for the Super Tiny: Are Emerging Legal and Regulatory Frameworks for Nanoscale Materials Adequate?,” during which a panel of experts discussed whether emerging legal and regulatory initiatives in the U.S. and EU are satisfactory for addressing the potential air, water, waste, and chemical implications of nanomaterials (and that sentence must have been written by a lawyer). Conclusions were:

“We need a definition so we know what we’re regulating”

“Industry is calling for increased public spending on research, but it’s not happening”

“Most of the products using nanotechnologies are found in sporting goods stores We don’t think what we have right now — better bowling balls — justifies the risks”

“A moratorium could be nuanced to make allowances for promising life-saving medical applications, for example”

The latter quote came from anti nano and bio evangelists the ETC group who seem to be going ever softer on nanotech, although banning basic reserach unless it can be proven to have a benficial application seems a bit Kafkaesque.

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