Nanotechnology risk framework: your input requested

Environmental Defense and DuPont are pleased to announce the public release of a DRAFT version of their Nano Risk Framework — a framework for the responsible development, production, use and disposal of nanoscale materials. They’d appreciate your feedback so that they can make this framework as effective, practical, and useful for as wide an audience as possible. Please provide your comments by Friday, March 30th, 2007:

The intent of the framework is to define a systematic and disciplined process that can be used to identify, manage and reduce potential environmental, health and safety risks of nano-scale materials across all lifecycle stages to help ensure that nanotechnology’s benefits are maximized while the potential risks are effectively assessed and managed. [Emphasis added]

Those familiar with Foresight’s longtime mission of maximizing nanotech’s benefits and minimizing its risks will be pleased to see these memes spreading together so effectively. We see this theme frequently now, and it’s gratifying — as is seeing the term ‘open source’ spreading far beyond software.

From the Framework document:

Given the team members’ areas of expertise, the Framework now concentrates on environmental, health, and safety risks. As a result, a number of other issues that some observers have raised about nanotechnology — social equity, national security, and personal privacy, for example — are not addressed. While we recognize these omissions, we also note that it might be possible for some users to incorporate such elements into their own adaptations of the Framework.

Regular readers of Nanodot know that we at Foresight focus more on these broader issues raised by nanotech — e.g., the interactions between security, freedom, and privacy — and these are not addressed in this Framework. However, the wording of these kinds of documents tend to propagate into later, broader policy documents, so we encourage everyone to dig in and assist on this one. —Christine

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