Call for moratorium on commercial nanomaterials

from the ban-it-first-ask-questions-later dept.
In a lengthy position paper posted on their web site No Small Matter! Nanotech Particles Penetrate Living Cells and Accumulate in Animal Organs ETC Group, which describes itself as "dedicated to the conservation and sustainable advancement of cultural and ecological diversity and human rights," calls for "an immediate moratorium on commercial production of new nanomaterials [and for launching] a transparent global process for evaluating the socio-economic, health and environmental implications of the technology." ETC Group (the Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration) cites an EPA meeting (see Nanodot post of March 15, 2002) where it was claimed that "nanoparticles are showing up in the livers of research animals, can seep into living cells, and perhaps piggyback on bacteria to enter the food chain," and notes that there is no regulatory body "dedicated to overseeing this potent and powerfully invasive new technology." After describing the extent of government and commercial investment in nanotechnology, they conclude that "Industry will fight hard to make sure that health and environmental concerns do not derail the progress of nanotech, as has happened with biotech." They describe the lack of knowledge about the long term effects of various nanoparticles on the environment and on human health, and then call for "Heads of State attending the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg (Aug. 26-Sept. 4, 2002)" to declare the moratorium.

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