FOEA Emerging tech Project

US EPA considering stricter approach for nanomaterials

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reviewing its policy on how nanomaterials are assessed (or not) for their environment risks. This could result in the EPA closing legal loopholes by finally agreeing to treat manufactured nanomaterials as ‘new’ chemicals. This would mean there is a legal requirement to assess nanomaterials’ safety before they can be used commercially. EPA toxics chief Steve Owens announced the policy review during his keynote address at the conference ‚ÄúTrans-Atlantic Regulatory Cooperation: Securing the Promise of Nanotechnologies".

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Time for technology democracy

The reality of the Australian government’s approach to nanotechnology belies its stated commitment to social democracy, writes Griffith University senior lecturer Dr Kristen Lyons in the Sydney Morning Herald, Age and Brisbane Times newspapers. "Communities are being kept in the dark, they are being given little opportunity to have their say about highly controversial technologies, meanwhile industry continues to roll out new technologies – virtually unregulated, untested and unlabelled."

The opinion piece by Dr Lyons is reprinted below.

"Democratic governments chant public engagement as the cornerstone of sound political decision-making. This mantra was heard in Western Australia last week, at an address by Senator Kim Carr to the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy.

In his speech, Carr described the Rudd Government’s commitment to social democratic processes. He claimed this commitment to social democracy as a vital process for ensuring policy-making agendas move beyond economic priorities to consider a broader range of social, cultural and political issues.

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