March 01, 2015

Regulation of Nanomaterials: What Are They? How Are They Regulated? Who Decides?

Roger Hanshaw

Few developments in science and technology have presented more opportunity to revolutionize so many aspects of daily life—medicine, food, electronics, agriculture, cosmetics, and others—as the creation and use of nano-scale materials. Even though nanotechnology research and nanomaterial production have been on the scene for years, the extent to which nanomaterials can be leveraged to create advances in daily life is yet to be fully understood. However, questions about the possible health implications, environmental and occupational effects, and even the manner in which nanomaterials interact with other known chemical compounds already arise with great frequency. It is not surprising that lawyers and policy makers struggle to create a suitable regulatory structure for nanomaterials when even those professionals who work in the field of nanotechnology and nanomaterials struggle to define what the term “nanomaterial” means.

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