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Nanotechnology: Getting It Right the First Time
Volume 3, Issue 1

Karen Florini, Environmental Defense
Scott Walsh, Environmental Defense
John M. Balbus, Environmental Defense
Richard Denison, Environmental Defense

Available data, while limited in scope, clearly indicates both that some nanomaterials have hazardous properties and that growing numbers of nanomaterials are reaching the market. Unfortunately, it is far from clear that existing federal regulatory programs will provide an effective means of addressing nanomaterial risks, particularly in the near to medium term. As an interim measure, several voluntary initiatives to develop standards for the safe production, use, and disposal of nanomaterials are now underway. The rigor of such standards, the degree to which mandatory safeguards are adopted, and the extent to which risk-related data is generated prior to widespread dispersion of nanomaterials will jointly indicate whether painful lessons from previous technological mishaps are successfully applied in developing nanotechnology.

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