Nano-Safety or Nano-Security? Reassessing Europe's Nanotechnology Regulation in the Context of International Security Law
European Journal of Risk Regulation, Vol 3, 2012, pp. 416-421
7 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 21, 2013
The rapid development of nanotechnology over the last decade has resulted in a widespread introduction of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) into the consumer products of developed countries. Because of the potential toxicity of ENMs, however, concerns for health and environmental safety have led to controversial public debates in many countries as to whether and how the safety of products containing ENMs should be specifically ensured. In these regulatory debates, however, the role nanotechnology plays in addressing various contemporary security challenges is given little, if any, attention. This perspective article proposes that these contemporary security challenges should be more clearly incorporated into regulatory decision-making about nanotechnology, while protecting the public from potential health and environmental security threats that may result from exposure to a widespread and uncontrolled release of ENMs. It demonstrates the significance of enhancing this security perspective to nanotechnology regulation by: (1) highlighting international legal obligations relevant to nanotechnology; and (2) examining the current regulatory approaches adopted in Europe in light of various security considerations relevant to the implementation of those international legal obligations.
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