Bottom-up risk regulation? How nanotechnology risk knowledge gaps challenge federal and state environmental agencies

Maria C Powell, Martin P A Griffin, Stephanie Tai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Nanotechnologies have been called the "Next Industrial Revolution." At the same time, scientists are raising concerns about the potential health and environmental risks related to the nano-sized materials used in nanotechnologies. Analyses suggest that current U.S. federal regulatory structures are not likely to adequately address these risks in a proactive manner. Given these trends, the premise of this paper is that state and local-level agencies will likely deal with many "end-of-pipe" issues as nanomaterials enter environmental media without prior toxicity testing, federal standards, or emissions controls. In this paper we (1) briefly describe potential environmental risks and benefits related to emerging nanotechnologies; (2) outline the capacities of the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act to address potential nanotechnology risks, and how risk data gaps challenge these regulations; (3) outline some of the key data gaps that challenge state-level regulatory capacities to address nanotechnologies' potential risks, using Wisconsin as a case study; and (4) discuss advantages and disadvantages of state versus federal approaches to nanotechnology risk regulation. In summary, we suggest some ways government agencies can be better prepared to address nanotechnology risk knowledge gaps and risk management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-443
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironmental Management
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008

Fingerprint

nanotechnology
Nanotechnology
environmental risk
toxic substance
emission control
regulation
Poisons
Emission control
health risk
Risk management
Nanostructured materials
pipe
Toxicity
Conservation
toxicity
Pipe
Health
Recovery
air
Water

Keywords

  • environmental exposure
  • environmental health
  • environmental monitoring
  • environmental pollution
  • humans
  • nanotechnology
  • risk assessment
  • risk management
  • United States
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency

Cite this

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Bottom-up risk regulation? How nanotechnology risk knowledge gaps challenge federal and state environmental agencies. / Powell, Maria C; Griffin, Martin P A; Tai, Stephanie.

In: Environmental Management, Vol. 42, No. 3, 09.2008, p. 426-443.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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