Nanotechwire.com news service warns that the US "EPA Nanotechnology Voluntary Program Risks Becoming a ‘Black Hole’". The service reports that: "Six months after launching its voluntary reporting program for nanomaterial producers, EPA has made virtually no information public about the limited number of submissions it has received. As a result, the public can have little confidence that the program is providing the information the Agency will need to protect citizens, consumers, workers and the environment from the potential risks of nanotechnology, according to Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)".
‘Geo-engineering’ is the ultimate in pursuit of high risk ‘techno-fixes’ to the world’s big ecological problems. Its proponents want to use technology to attempt to ‘re-engineer’ the environment, for example by fertilising the ocean to produce huge algal blooms that supposedly will absorb carbon dioxide, or by polluting the upper atmosphere with nanoparticles in an attempt to deflect UV radiation and stop global warming. 191 countries recently rejected geo-engineering as environmentally reckless. But this week an announcement for the Australian Government’s “Climate Ready Program” suggested that geo-engineering projects using genetic engineering or nanotechnology may be eligible for federal funding. Click here for a thorough report of the field of geo-engineering from the ETC Group.
Australian Greens Senator Christine Milne has a long-standing interest in nanotechnology and new technology issues. In the June Government Estimates hearings, Senator Milne grilled Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr, the head of the Department’s Innovation Division Craig Pennifold and Australian Chief Scientist Dr Jim Peacock over the federal government’s handling of nanotechnology issues. In persistent questioning, Senator Milne exposed deep-seated confusion among those charged with ensuring the safety and responsible handling of nanotechnology regarding exactly what’s going on…
Mesothelioma.com, "the authority on mesothelioma and asbestos cancer", have published an information sheet (download below) that warns that exposure to nanotubes could pose similar risks to those of asbestos. "Current research suggests that exposure to carbon-based nanotubes may lead to the development of mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and has no known cure. Scientists have called for further research and great caution before introducing large numbers of products containing nanotubes into the market if long-term harm is to be avoided. In particular, they suggest that further testing related to nanotube exposure and the onset of mesothelioma is crucial".
The European Trade Union Confederation, representing 82 European trade unions, has called for the “no safety data, no market” principle to be applied to nanoparticles. In its new statement (download below) the ETUC “calls on the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to refuse to register chemicals for which manufacturers fail to supply the data required to ensure the manufacture, marketing and use of their nanometer forms that has no harmful effects for human health and the environment at all stages of their life cycle”.