Managing the Effects of Nanotechnology
- Nanotechnology is difficult to address using existing regulations.
- A new law may be required to manage potential risks of nanotechnology.
- New mechanisms and institutional capabilities are needed.
If nothing specific is done to manage nanotechnology's possible adverse effects, a range of undesirable developments could emerge.The public potentially would be left unprotected, the government would struggle to apply existing laws to a technology for which they were not designed, and industry would be exposed to the possibility of public backlash, loss of markets, and potential financial liabilities. The challenges presented by nanotechnology are as many and varied as the promises that NT holds for a better life. If nanotechnology is to fulfill its promise, society must openly face the issues of whether the technology has or could have adverse effects, what these effects are, and how to prevent them in the future.
Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies on PewHealth.org.