Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Nanotechnology catches the EPA’s eye

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published this week in the Federal Register its plan for the Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The plan takes a first step by offering industry, non-governmental organizations and other groups the opportunity to voluntarily submit safety data on engineered nanoscale materials. “

The key word here is “offering.” Nobody is quite ready to regulate nanoscale materials just yet (it’s way too slippery a slope at this time). However, if industry does volunteer the information, it should mean that their new nanoscale materials are safe, tested and regulated, as well as being profitable to company shareholders.

Featured in R&D magazine (*) as well as many others, regulation of nanoscale materials has been on the minds of industry and potential regulatory agencies across the globe for several years. It is just now starting to catch the eye of the general public due to the rapid growth of products containing nanoscale materials, as well as those that only claim to.

What you should take away from this bit

Nanoscale materials are the catalysts for humankind’s next great step forward in future products. Man-on-the-street (along with Woman-on-the-street) are beginning to have to pay attention, if for no other reason than the recent media-induced saturation of “nano” news. Nanoscale materials impact on society is potentially the most revolutionary humankind has seen; more so than all previous eras put together. From lighter auto bodies (for increased gas mileage) to high-tech composites used in the aerospace industry (for decreased launch costs) and in all cases where strength-to-weight ratios count most, nanoscale materials will play an enabling role in the vast majority of all next-generation technologies, as they are doing now everywhere where computational devices are used.

This is another topic that will remain contentious, and worth reading about.


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