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Nanowaste needs attention of EPA, industry and investors

WASHINGTON, DC The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must make key decisions about how to apply the two major end-of-life statutes to nanotechnology waste in order to ensure adequate oversight for these technologies, concludes a new report from the Wilson Centers Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. However, the report notes that the Agency lacks much of the data on human health and eco-toxicity that form the basis for such determinations, creating some tough challenges ahead in EPAs decision-making process.

In addition, firms that manufacture nanomaterials, investors, and insurers should consider the new kinds of liabilities and environmental risks that may emerge as a result of the release and disposal of waste nanomaterials into the environment. The report, Where Does the Nano Go" End-of Life Regulation of Nanotechnologies, written by environmental law experts Linda Breggin and John Pendergrass of the Environmental Law Institute, was commissioned by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, an initiative of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The report is available online at: www.nanotechproject.org/132.

The report provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of two key EPA-administered laws that regulate the end-of-life management strategies for nanotechnology materials and products. These are the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as the Superfund statute.

According to the report, companies must recognize that as a result of CERCLA, RCRA and other environmental statutes, the environmental due diligence that accompanies many commercial transactions and securities offerings should include an examination of the handling and disposal of nanomaterials. Insurers also need to take into account the potential for CERCLA
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Contact: Julia Moore
nano@wilsoncenter.org
202-691-4025
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
26-Jul-2007


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