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Posted: September 28, 2009
Regulating nanomaterials: A transatlantic agenda
(Nanowerk News) Regulating Nanotechnologies in the EU and US is a collaborative research project involving researchers from Chatham House, the London School of Economics, the Environmental Law Institute and the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Its goal is to investigate the regulatory challenges posed by nanotechnologies and to assess the effectiveness of existing approaches on both sides of the Atlantic. The project is innovative in taking a comparative perspective and in contributing to the early identification of regulatory methodologies and best practices that promote regulatory convergence between the EU and US.
The project has now published a Briefing Paper that summarizes its findings:
The US and EU need to strengthen international regulatory cooperation if the commercial promises of nanotechnologies are to be fulfilled.
Persistent scientific uncertainty could limit the effectiveness of existing regulatory frameworks and risk assessment approaches. International efforts to create scientific building blocks for risk assessment of nanomaterials should be expanded.
The EU and US need to provide significantly increased funding for research into the environmental, health and safety risks of nanomaterials and promote greater coordination of such funding at an international level.
Governments should strengthen existing mandatory reporting requirements for nanomaterials in commercial use and, where necessary, create new ones.
US and EU authorities should explore the implications of potentially diverging consumer labelling requirements for nanomaterials, given international trade obligations, and work towards common approaches on standards for labelling.
In view of the ongoing and accelerating globalization of nanotechnologies, the EU and the US should complement existing international initiatives with the development of international governance capacity in other areas (UNEP, WHO), not least to ensure that developing countries are more involved in international decision-making.