September 28, 2009

Regulating Nanomaterials: A Transatlantic Agenda


This briefing paper identifies key issues and challenges in nanomaterials regulation and examines the debate on how to promote coordinated and convergent approaches in the EU and US. It provides a concise summary of key findings of a project that was carried out by a consortium of research institutions from both sides of the Atlantic.


It provides a concise summary of key findings of a project that was carried out by a consortium of research institutions from both sides of the Atlantic: the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Chatham House (the Royal Institute of International Affairs) in the UK, and the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) and the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in the United States.


© 2009 The Royal Institute of International Affairs
Download: English (PDF · 8 pages · 211 KB)
Author: Robert Falkner, Linda Breggin, Nico Jaspers, John Pendergrass, Read Porter
Series: Chatham House Briefing Papers
Issue: 2
Publisher: Chatham House, London, United Kingdom

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Summary points


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.

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