Nanotechnology Policy


Two recent CRS Reports discuss nanotechnology and its potential policy implications. Nanotechnology will have growing importance to the geospatial community as nano-sensing technology evolves and is integrated with the SensorWeb. Many thanks to Res Communis for the heads up on these reports!

1. CRS Report for Congress Nanotechnology: A Policy Primer, Published May 20, 2008

This report provides an overview of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, and reviews issues related to U.S. competitiveness, environmental, health and safety implications, nanomanufacturing, and people’s attitudes and understanding of the technology. 

2. CRS Report for Congress Nanotechnology and U.S. Competitiveness: Issues and Options, Published May 15, 2008.

In addition, check out the Nanotechnology Law Blog post on a PEN report that finds states could prompt federal action regarding nanotechnology. The report notes that because of the slow pace of federal action to regulate development of nanotechnology, “there is ‘room at the bottom’ for state and local governments to move forward in pursuing regulatory and other oversight options.” 

Speaking of which, here’s a snippet on nanotech policy issues raised in Wisconsin:

Wisconsin Representative Requests Assistance in Creating Registry

Posted on January 15, 2008 by Lynn L. Bergeson


In a December 3, 2007, letter, to the Secretaries of Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS), and Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), Wisconsin State Representative Terese Berceau (D) asks for their assistance in creating a policy “to address potential environmental problems associated with the emerging field of nanotechnology.” Berceau refers to the ordinance adopted by Berkeley, California, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program (NMSP), and proposes a reporting system and creation of a registry in Wisconsin “including addressing areas that are simply not yet fully defined in an emerging and growing technological field.” Berceau states that whether the registry is created by rule or legislation “is best determined with the guidance of the regulatory agencies dealing with similar issues today — in public health, environmental protection, and consumer protection.”




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