Dynamic oversight: implementation gaps and challenges.
J Nanopart Res 2011 Apr; 13(4):1427-1434
Nanotechnology is touted as a transformative technology in that it is predicted to improve many aspects of human life. There are hundreds of products in the market that utilize nanostructures in their design, such as composite materials made out of carbon or metal oxides. Potential risks to consumers, to the environment, and to workers from the most common passive nanomaterial - carbon nanotubes - are emerging through scientific research. Newer more active nanostructures - such as cancer therapies and targeted drug systems - are also increasing in use and are raising similar risk concerns. Governing the risks to workers is the subject of this commentary. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 grants the Occupational Safety and Health Administration the legal authority to set occupational health standards to insure that no worker suffers material impairment of health from work. However, setting a standard to protect workers from nanotechnology risks may occur some time in the future because the risks to workers have not been well characterized scientifically. Alternative risk governances - such as dynamic oversight through stakeholder partnerships, soft law approaches, and national adoption of international consensus standards - are evaluated in this article.
Nanotechnology; Nanoparticles; Biomedical-engineering; Biotechnology-industry; Synergism; Chemical-structure; Standards; Hazardous-materials; Toxic-materials; Protective-measures; Work-environment; Worker-health; Regulations; Risk-analysis; Law-enforcement;
Author Keywords: Benzene; Hard law approaches; International standards; Nanobiotechnology; Nanotoxicology; National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act; Occupational Safety and Health Act; Occupational safety and health standard; REACH; Soft law approaches; Governance
J. Howard, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC 20201, USA
Journal of Nanoparticle Research