[Update: see comments for link to full article] In an opinion editorial expected to run in the Wall Street Journal (subscription only) today [Update: it ran June 14], Environmental Defense President Fred Krupp and DuPont CEO Chad Holliday outline the steps that policymakers, academics, businesses and nonprofits need to take to maximize the potential and minimize the risks of nanotechnology. They call for increased risk research, improved regulatory oversight, proactive corporate management standards, and broad stakeholder engagement. An excerpt:
“Given potential liability and market risks, industry, universities, government and public interest groups should collaborate to determine what testing is necessary for new nanoproducts. Businesses then should conduct the needed testing before new products enter commercial use. Products that use nanomaterials are already on our market shelves. Good product stewardship requires a commitment to identifying and managing any potential risks. A collaborative effort could set interim standards for nanotechnology around the world while regulations are under development.
At the same time, our government also needs to invest more seriously in the research necessary to understand fully nanoparticle behavior. Funding to study health and environmental risk represents only 4% of the proposed federal investment in nanotechnology and becomes vanishingly small when you factor in private investment. Government spending on nanotechnology should be reprioritized so that approximately 10% goes to this purpose. Compared to the estimated $1 trillion market for nanotechnology, this would be a wise insurance policy on such a high-potential investment.”
Sounds reasonable to me.–CP