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December 5, 2012

elni Review Article Examines Law and Innovation in Context of Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson

Environmental Law Network International’s (ELNI) recent issue of elni Review includes an article entitled “Law and innovation in the context of nanomaterials: Barriers to sustainable development? Results of an empirical study,” which examines to what degree the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation promotes innovations for sustainability through nanomaterials. The authors surveyed 37 companies based in Germany that manufacture and/or use nanomaterials to determine how REACH affected their approach. Issues addressed included the relationships between substance risks and innovation and between REACH and innovation. The authors determined that REACH does not offer sufficient incentives to register nanomaterials and to apply nano-specific safety assessment procedures. In addition, according to the authors, the lack of specific provisions within REACH concerning nanomaterials results in uncertainties in the interpretation of legal concepts and obligations.  The authors offer preliminary conclusions for a possible adaptation of the legal framework for nanomaterials.

Readers may be interested in joining the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization (SNO). SNO is a non-profit, worldwide professional society comprised of individuals and institutions that are engaged in:

  • Research and development of sustainable nanotechnology;
  • Implications of nanotechnology for environment, health, and safety;
  • Advances in nanoscience, methods, protocols, and metrology;
  • Education and understanding of sustainable nanotechnology; and
  • Applications of nanotechnology for sustainability.