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Thinking big about things small

WASHINGTON -- Nanotechnologythe so-called science of the smallis raising some really big questions about the adequacy of the current federal oversight system. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is grappling with understanding the jurisdiction and applicability of major laws, like the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), with respect to nanotechnology. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is evaluating the effectiveness of the agencys regulatory approaches and authorities to meet the potential unique challenges presented by the use of nanomaterials in FDA-regulated products, and the agency expects to issue its findings in July 2007.

A new report by former EPA official Mark Greenwood, Thinking Big About Things Small: Creating an Effective Oversight System for Nanotechnology, urges policymakers to focus more attention on how core assumptions about risk assessment and risk management that underlie existing health and environmental regulations will translate from the macro world to the nano world. It also emphasizes that how the government ultimately oversees nanotechnology will have major impacts on business strategies, intellectual property, and the evolving structure of the industry. It argues that these issues should be discussed now, in the early stages of commercialization, rather than later.

A panel of speakers including Mr. Greenwood, Stephen Harper of Intel Corporation and Richard Denison of Environmental Defense will examine the reports conclusions at a program organized by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. The event and live webcast will take place on Wednesday, March 14th at 10:00 a.m. in the Board Room on the 6th Floor of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (www.wilsoncenter.org/directions).

Mr. Greenwood, who is currently a partner in the law firm Ropes & Gray, worked fo
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Contact: Julia Moore
julia.moore@wilsoncenter.org
202-691-4025
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
7-Mar-2007


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