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Nanotechnology Testing and Regulations Inadequate

By January 16, 2008

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Dr. Patrick Lin, director of The Nanoethics Group, draws a comparison between our current use of nanotechnology and playing with fire, due to the fact that we have insufficient knowledge on how to control nanoparticles nor do we know conclusively what the consequences of their use and release might be. There is sufficient evidence to logically predict that there are toxicological risks associated with exposure to nanoparticles, and the safety of nanoparticles is the topic of ongoing debate, thus they should be subjected to more effective regulations, with wording adapted to apply to nanotechnology, and new safety testing designed specifically for nano-sized particles.

These recommendations were proposed by Dr. Lin in his article "Nanotechnology Bound" posted on The Nanoethics Group website, as a compromise based on the Precautionary Principle, but designed to encourage continued development of nanotechnology without completely halting all progress: we need to find a reasonable balance that responsibly promotes innovation in nanotechnology while at the same time safeguards EHS interests.

In his article, Dr. Lin presents several arguments against stricter regulations for nanotechnology, but points out how even the evidence presented in these arguments, in essence, provides an admission that stricter controls are needed, and that nanotechnology products are sufficiently toxic, and there is a sufficient lack of data on their safety, to condone their widespread release and use without further testing.

Sources:

Lin, P. Nanotechnology Bound: Evaluating the Case for More Regulation. Nanoethics, August 2007, No. 2, 105-122. DOI: 10.1007/s11569-007-0012-9.

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