ETC nanotech policy would ban most processed food

Last Thursday I spoke at a Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition conference on nanotech, at which Jim Thomas of the ETC Group also spoke. While we agree that nanoparticles need better testing and regulation, one of the ETC handouts, A Tiny Primer on Nano-scale Technologies, illustrates the risks of making policy recommendations that aren’t quite fully developed. Here the recommendation: “ETC Group has called for a moratorium on nanotech research and new commercial products until such time as laboratory protocols and regulatory regimes are in place that take into account the special characteristics of these materials, and until they are shown to be safe.  In the meantime, all food, feed and beverage products, sunscreens and cosmetics that incorporate manufactured nanoparticles should be removed from shelves.” But what is their definition of nanoparticles? “…chemical elements or compounds less than 100 nm in size”. Seems to me that actually doing this would mostly empty the grocery stores including everything with manmade vitamins, colorings, flavorings, or preservatives…leaving the organic produce — and depending on how that’s been washed and packed, maybe that would be gone as well.–CP

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