Nanotechnology

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Enlisting Modern Technologies to Ensure a Safe Food Supply," Natural Resources & Environment, Volume 31, Issue 3, Winter 2017.

Nanotechnology, biotechnology, and synthetic biology are the ploughs and tractors of the twenty-first century. These precision farming tools are ensuring a sustainable food supply otherwise threatened by climate change and population growth, among other global challenges. Genetically modified E. coli is being used to produce synthetically derived pheromones, substances beneficially used in agricultural applications to attract, capture, and eliminate harmful pests. Nanopesticides and nanofertilizers are being effectively used in drought-stricken regions, eliminating or minimizing the need for conventional agricultural chemicals. These and similar technologies are essential to enable today’s agricultural professionals to compete with an increasingly unforgiving Mother Nature and an ever-increasing demand for food.

 

These emerging technologies do not come without potential risks, however. How to regulate them is a  subject upon which stakeholders disagree.

 

Against this backdrop, this article considers emerging agricultural technologies, and discusses domestic agricultural oversight systems and their ability to keep pace with innovation. As discussed below, the domestic governance system is capable of addressing comprehensively the potential risks posed by these evolving technologies. The system, however, could be improved by better integration of measures  to educate policy makers and regulators on these technologies, and greater involvement by the private  sector in facilitating a predictable flow of information on these technologies to all stakeholders.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "OSHA Sustainability Paper Notes Opportunity to Integrate Sustainability and Nanotechnology Research," Nanotechnology Now, December 21, 2016.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released on December 20, 2016, a white paper entitled Sustainability in the Workplace: A New Approach for Advancing Worker Safety and Health. See https://www.osha.gov/sustainability/docs/OSHA_sustainability_paper.pdf The paper highlights the importance of including worker safety and health in the growing movement toward sustainability and corporate responsibility. According to the paper, research on sustainability does not include occupational safety and health.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Australian Draft National Standard for the Environmental Risk Management of Industrial Chemicals Addresses Nanomaterials," Nanotechnology Now, December 1, 2016.

On November 24, 2016, the Australian Department of the Environment and Energy began a public consultation on the Draft National Standard for the Environmental Risk Management of Industrial Chemicals and a supporting Draft Explanatory Document. See http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/chemicals-management/national-standard/draft-national-standard-environmental-risk-management-industrial-chemicals  According to the Department, the primary purpose of the papers is to outline the design and operation of the National Standard. 

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Minnesota Adds Several Nanomaterials to List of Chemicals of High Concern," Nanotechnology Now, September 29, 2016.

On September 13, 2016, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced the availability of an updated list of chemicals of high concern. See http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/hazardous/topics/toxfreekids/highconcern.html#list

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Two Workshops Will Be Held Before October 2016 OpenTox Euro Conference," Nanotechnology Now, August 11, 2016.

Two workshops, a European Union (EU)-U.S. Nano Environmental and Health Safety (NanoEHS) workshop and a nano modeling workshop, will be held in advance of the October 2016 OpenTox Euro Conference.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Canada Begins Consultation On Proposed Prioritization Approach For Nanoscale Forms Of DSL Substances," Nanotechnology Now, August 4, 2016.

On July 27, 2016, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Health Canada (HC) began a consultation on a proposed prioritization approach for nanoscale forms of substances on the Domestic Substances List (DSL).

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EC Amends Cosmetics Regulation To Allow Use Of Titanium Dioxide (Nano) as UV Filter," Nanotechnology Now, July 21, 2016.

The European Commission (EC) published on July 14, 2016, a regulation in the Official Journal of the European Union that amends Annex VI, the list of ultraviolet (UV) filters allowed in cosmetic products, of the cosmetics regulation.

Lynn L. Bergeson, "EC Denies 2014 Petition Seeking EU-Wide Ban on Nanoparticles," Nanotechnology Now, July 12, 2016.

On June 29, 2016, the European Commission (EC) provided a notice to the European Parliament regarding its response to a 2014 petition calling for a European Union (EU)-wide ban on microplastics and nanoparticles. The petition summary states: "Nanoparticles are so small that they penetrate cells effortlessly and can damage them, causing cancer. Because the precautionary principle applies in the EU, the petitioner urges a ban on these small particles as soon as possible."

Lynn L. Bergeson, "CRS Prepares “Policy Primer” on Nanotechnology," Nanotechnology Now, July 6, 2016.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) prepared a June 28, 2016, report, Nanotechnology: A Policy Primer. The report provides an overview of federal research and development (R&D) in nanotechnology, U.S. competitiveness in the field, environmental, health, and safety (EHS) concerns, nanomanufacturing, and public understanding of and attitudes toward nanotechnology. According to the report, while more than 60 nations established similar programs after the launch of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), "it appears that several have moved away from centralized, coordinated nanotechnology-focused programs (e.g., the United Kingdom, Japan, Russia), some in favor of market- or application-oriented topic areas (e.g., health care technologies)."

Lynn L. Bergeson, "Mexico Begins Public Consultation on Draft Nanotechnology Standards," Nanotechnology Now, June 7, 2016.

On May 3, 3016, Mexico's Ministry of Economy published a notice beginning a public consultation on two draft nanotechnology standards. ISO/TS 80004-5:2011 lists terms and definitions related to the interface between nanomaterials and biology. It is intended to facilitate communications between scientists, engineers, technologists, designers, manufacturers, regulators, non-governmental organizations (NGO), consumer organizations, members of the public, and others.

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