Update on Berkeley Nanotech Regulations


In a December 2006 article, I suggested this interpretation for Berkeley's new nanotechnology regulation:

1. The duty is to report, no more, no less

  1. There is no exact standard as to the form of the report
  2. General minimum disclosure standards may apply. Producers must disclose anything within the limits of their current knowledge. Non disclosure may incur civil liability
  3. This only applies to "manufactured" nanoparticles produced in the jurisdiction of the City of Berkeley. This means that natural nanoparticles or nanoparticles resulting from a side reaction could be exempted from this regulation. This could also mean that nanoparticles imported to Berkeley do not fall within the scope of this regulation.
  4. The city can not ban the production and sale of nanoparticles simply by regulation. These are the authority of the EPA
  5. The regulation does not regulate nanotechnology as a whole! It only regulates nanoparticles. Obviously, nanostructures are exempt from this regulation
  6. There could be problems with the definition of "nanoparticle"

After delving into the matter and conducting a discussion, I feel that some of the above interpretations are inadequate and / or incorrect. With respect to point 2, I have obtained information that standard report forms are currently being reviewed by industry and other stakeholders. So, there could be a standard form of report. With respect to item 3, the report may need to be reviewed by an independent third party, a professional toxicologist or the ICH, which forms part of the reporting form. My interpretation is incorrect with respect to point 4. The importation of nanoparticles to Berkeley will be subject to the reporting obligation. With respect to point 6, nanostructures may be subject to a reporting obligation if one of their axes is equal to or less than 100 NM (corresponds to the definition of "nanoparticle").

I completely agree with Mr. Hadithy that these precautionary measures are necessary to protect society from unknown harm. There is really nothing unusual about the regulation, it is not different from the normal legislation on chemicals that also requires disclosure. The only difference is that it is applied to nanoparticles. As discussed in my other messages, the results of research on the adverse effect of nanoparticles on humans are inconclusive.

According to some media, the Berkeley approach could be followed by other cities. Cambridge would have discussed the question. Cambridge also plans to follow Berkeley in the regulation of nanotechnology.

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