Local Regulations

Regulatory fever seems to have infected the city of Berkeley which is “proposing what a city official says would be the world’s first local regulation of nanomaterials.”

Before anyone gets alarmed at the prospects of security guards on the Bay Bridge demanding that all nanopants are removed before you can enter the city, it is worth pointing out that the law is an add on to an existing local regulation that “requires an inventory and safety plan from any business or other person handling large quantities of hazardous materials.”

Still, it raises the issue of consistency in regulation, something that has become an in air travel security in recent months, where Polonium 210 can breeze through airport security but an extra 1ml of shampoo or toothpaste cannot. Traveling around Europe you can either take one or two items of hand luggage depending on your route, and may or may not be required to remove your belt/watch/shoes/laptop depending on which airport you travel through.

Regulations may be easily created, but often the application of them is highly variable. If we can’t have any consistency between Heathrow and London City airports as to whether a cigar cutter bought in an airport duty free shop constitutes a security risk (although you would need a willing victim) how on earth can we have local regulation of nanomaterials if San Francisco and Berkeley have different laws?

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