The latest news from academia, regulators
research labs and other things of interest
Posted: July 27, 2007
How to deal with nanotechnology waste
(Nanowerk News) All materials and products eventually come to the end of their useful life, and those made with nanotechnology are no different. This means that engineered nanomaterials will ultimately enter the waste stream and find their way into landfills or incinerators—and eventually into the air, soil and water. As a result, it is important to consider how various forms of nanomaterials will be disposed of and treated at the end of their use, and how the regulatory system will treat such materials at the various stages of their lifecycle.
A new report, release yesterday, from the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, "Where Does the Nano Go? End-of-Life Regulation of Nanotechnologies", addresses these issues. Authored by Linda K. Breggin and John Pendergrass, legal experts from the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), the report presents the most comprehensive analysis to-date of two key Environmental Protection Agency laws that regulate the end-of-life management of nanotechnology. These are the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as the Superfund statute.
The report is timely. Today, there are over 500 company-identified nanotechnology consumer products on the market, all of which will sooner or later be disposed of. These products can be seen in an online inventory maintained by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. This inventory does not include nanotech products being sold but not identified as such, or the hundreds of nano raw materials, intermediate components, and industrial equipment items used by manufacturers today.