With hundreds of nanotechnology-enabled products on the market and many more in the commercial pipeline, Mark Greenwood, former director of the EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, said such a system is necessary to effectively address health and safety issues particular to nanoscale materials and devices.
"It is time for government, industry, the scientific community, non-governmental organizations and other interested parties to begin a more systematic discussion about the core elements of an oversight framework for nanoscale materials" said. Greenwood.
He said public discussion of nanotechnology oversight during the last few years has been dominated by two topics: research priorities and the potential jurisdiction of various health and environmental statutes over nanoscale materials.
"Not enough attention is being given to the policies that should be used to define acceptable and unacceptable risk and to determine appropriate management practices, he said.
Greenwood's research -- "Thinking Big About Things Small: Creating an Effective Oversight System for Nanotechnology" -- was released this week at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.