August 15, 2017 Articles

Nanotechnology: The Next Mass Tort?

By Thomas P. Bernier and Brendan H. Fitzpatrick

Nanotechnology offers vast promise and potential. New benefits for health, the environment, industry, and commerce through application of nanotechnology are being discovered on a daily basis in arenas as varied as pollution control, food, pharmaceuticals, and engineering and construction. Yet, the study and understanding of the health and environmental risks associated with use of nanomaterials lag behind research into new applications. Research demonstrates that some nanomaterials may pose significant health and environmental concerns. As scientists conduct further studies into these concerns, regulators, manufacturers, insurers, and attorneys must keep apprised of potential risks. Although claims of personal injury related to exposure to nanomaterials have not yet resulted in litigation, it may be just a matter of time. This article focuses on recent studies into potential health effects of exposure to nanomaterials and governmental regulatory reaction.

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