Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Report: Nanotech Oversight Needs Attention

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Report: Nanotech Oversight Needs Attention

Article excerpt

With hundreds of nanotechnology-enabled products already on the market and many more in the commercial pipeline, a new report by a former senior EPA official urges policymakers to give greater attention to the challenges of crafting an oversight system that can effectively address health and safety issues specific 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," Mark Greenwood asserts in "Thinking Big About Things Small: Creating an Effective Oversight System for Nanotechnology."

Greenwood worked for EPA for more than 16 years and was director of EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics from 1990 to 1994.

"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," Greenwood said. "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. …

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