Risk, Response & Regulation

Kristin: Last week, Peter & I attended a presentation at the CSIRO Niche Manufacturing Flagship by Dr Andrew Maynard of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in the US.  As well as being an outstanding presentation, there were a couple of things that stood out.  Some I’ve blogged for Bridge8, but here I’ll focus on his comments about risk and regulation.  He said that to ensure safe, sustainable nanotechnologies, first the term ‘nanotechnology’ needs to be de-coupled.  He did this by defining ‘Personal Benefits’ that we see through stain-resistant clothing and cosmetics and ‘Social Benefits’ such as those from new materials, and innovation in energy, water and health.  He then said we need to set boundaries and focus attention on the priorities for safety and risk assessment and listed nanoparticles, agglomerates, aerolized suspensions, comminution, degradation and unintentional use as areas for focus.  He also presented results showing that both particle size and structure were important variables in understanding behaviour and effects of nano-sized particles.  To ensure appropriate oversight, the functionality as well as the chemistry needs to be considered.

Originally published at Blog@NanoVic for Nanotechnology Victoria.

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