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Posted: April 17, 2007
(Nanowerk News) An article in Chemical & Engineering News argues that, for effective rules and regulations in nanotechnology to be set, science must play a key role.
With a growing of nanotechnology-based products hitting the market, concerns about the safety of this technology are high. After all, one health or environmental scare could put an untimely end to what many experts believe is a promising field.
To guard against this fate, policymakers are doing what they can to be proactive in setting up rules and regulations to protect the public by using the best available information. Unfortunately, research that is specific to the risks of engineered nanomaterials is not keeping up with the needs of policymakers.
"Science is moving at a pace dictated by the current state of knowledge we have in the field of nanotechnology," says E. Clayton Teague, director of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, which supports interagency activities under the federal National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). But because scientific studies on the risks of nanotechnology, particularly in the area of toxicology, can take several years to complete, policymakers must make scientifically sound decisions even with little conclusive data.