WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The Project on Emerging
Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars today
released a new report by one of the country's foremost authorities on
environmental research and policy, which examines the strengths and weaknesses
of the current regulatory framework for nanotechnology and calls for a new
approach to nanotechnology oversight.
Managing the Effects of Nanotechnology, authored by J. Clarence (Terry)
Davies, former assistant administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) during the George H. W. Bush Administration, argues that better
and more aggressive oversight and new resources are needed to manage the
potential adverse effects of nanotechnology and promote its continued
"It is the right time to come up with the right regulatory framework for
nanotechnology -- a framework that encourages initiative and innovation, while
also protecting the public and the environment," Davies said. "The ideas
presented in this report challenge business and government to work together to
nurture and encourage nanotechnology and to anticipate and address its adverse
"Nanotechnology holds tremendous potential -- for improvements in health
care, the production of clean water and energy, and continued advances in our
IT infrastructure," said William K. Reilly, former EPA Administrator,
commenting on the report. "But nanotechnology can only flourish if industry
and government are committed to identifying and managing the possible risks to
workers, consumers, and the environment. Davies' analysis of the federal
regulatory system and recommendations should spark a necessary dialogue --
among business, government and citizen groups -- about how to move forward as
"Reaching consensus on nanotechnology regulation that encourages economic
innovation and environmental stewardship will not be easy," Davies
acknowledges, "but it is a challenge that we cannot ignore."
Dr. Davies argues that some current regulatory approaches may work for
nanotechnology applications. "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the
authority it needs to review and regulate nanotechnology applications in the
areas of drugs and biomedical devices," Davies said. "But most of the
existing applicable programs are seriously flawed, lack resources, and require
new thinking and funding."
The report analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of existing laws that
apply to nanotechnology and outlines provisions that a new law might contain.
"Nanotechnology is still in its infancy, presenting a clear opportunity
for us to 'get it right' from the start," said David Rejeski, director of the
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. The Project is an initiative of the
Wilson Center and The Pew Charitable Trusts.
"As we continue to learn the value and benefits that nanotechnology
presents," noted Rejeski, "it will be important for us to gain the commitment
from industry and government to successfully position nanotechnology as the
next big economic driver. If nanotechnology is to succeed, there needs to be a
dialogue around the proactive approach Davies suggests. Government, business
and citizen groups need to exchange views and discuss options to assure the
American public that as nanotechnology matures, any adverse health and
environmental effects will be identified and prevented or controlled."
"There also needs to be more in-depth public policy analysis that is
informed by an understanding of the risks posed by nanotechnologies and how
products are moving from laboratories to factories, and into the marketplace.
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies is committed to helping facilitate
the necessary dialogue around nanotechnology and to providing sound policy
choices," according to Rejeski.
The market opportunity for nanotechnology is substantial. The National
Science Foundation predicts that the global marketplace for goods and services
using nanotechnologies will grow to $1 trillion by 2015. The U.S. invests
approximately $3 billion annually in nanotechnology research and development,
which accounts for approximately one-third of the total public and private
sector investments worldwide.
Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, see, manipulate and manufacture
things usually between 1 and 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a
meter; a human hair is roughly 100,000 nanometers wide.
"Dr. Davies has offered all who are interested in the benefits and risks
of nanotechnology good, thoughtful questions to ponder and a series of options
to consider," said Jim O'Hara, director of policy initiatives and the Health
and Human Services program at The Pew Charitable Trusts. "Such options and
ensuing policy dialogue are essential to ensure that society manages the
potential adverse effects of nanotechnology and reaps its tremendous
The Center formally will release the report at a briefing today from 10:00
- 11:00 a.m. EST at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars,
located at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., 5th floor
conference room. The briefing will be webcast live at
http://www.wilsoncenter.org. Terry Davies' report, Managing the Effects of
Nanotechnology, is available online at http://www.nanotechproject.org.
J. Clarence (Terry) Davies is a senior advisor at the Project on Emerging
Nanotechnologies and senior research fellow at Resources for the Future. He is
considered one of the foremost authorities on environmental research and
policy. He co-authored the plan that created the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) and later served as the EPA's assistant administrator for Policy,
Planning and Evaluation. As a senior staff member of the Council on
Environmental Quality, Davies authored the original version of what became the
Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies was launched in 2005 by the
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable
Trusts. It is a partnership dedicated to helping business, governments, and
the public anticipate and manage the possible health and environmental
implications of nanotechnology.
STATEMENT BY WILLIAM K. REILLY
Founding Partner, Aqua International Partners
Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (1989-1993)
January 11, 2006
J. Clarence (Terry) Davies's report, Managing the Effects of
Nanotechnology, probes the frontier of environmental policy. Davies's
analysis of the federal regulatory system provides an excellent roadmap that
will help policymakers identify potential oversight gaps and develop better
ways to manage nanotechnology's impacts, both now and in the future. His
recommendations should spark a necessary dialogue -- among business,
government, and citizen groups -- about how to move forward as nanotechnology
develops over the coming years.
A similar rational and thoughtful guide to the public policy issues
presented by biotechnology would possibly have helped us better manage that
innovation. Davies' report can help us get this right.
Nanotechnology holds tremendous potential -- for improvements in health
care, the production of clean water and energy, and for continued advances in
our IT infrastructure. It may be the single most important advance of our
age. But nanotechnology can only flourish if industry and government are
committed to identifying and managing any possible risks to workers,
consumers, and the environment. Government oversight needs to be done in a way
that is transparent, efficient, and predictable, both for large and small
companies as well as for those who invest in these businesses. Davies's
report presents the first systematic analysis into how such a balance can be
CONTACT: Julia Moore of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for
Scholars, +1-202-691-4025, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Debra Masters,
+1-202-326-1821, email@example.com, for the Woodrow Wilson
International Center for Scholars.
SOURCE Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars