Nanotechnology Project


Getting Nanotech Right: A New Report on Government Oversight of Nanotechnology

Wednesday, January 11, 2006, 10:00 – 11:00 AM

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Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 5th Floor Conference Room

Release of a new report, Managing the Effects of Nanotechnology

In October 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the manufacture of a new type of carbon nanotube under the “low release and exposure exemption” of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). It’s the first time the agency approved a new chemical specifically identified as being “nano.”

All major government environmental, health and safety regulations, like TSCA, were designed before the emergence of nanotechnology—the ability to measure, see, manipulate, and manufacture things at an atomic and molecular scale, usually between 1 and 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter; a human hair is roughly 100,000 nanometers wide.

In a nano marketplace, are existing oversight mechanisms adequate or do they need to be reassessed and changed? Does it make sense to consider a new law? Does government have the necessary human and financial resources to anticipate and manage the possible health and environmental implications of nanotechnology? Are there incentives to speed nanotechnology applications for environmentally beneficial uses? Davies’ report examines these and other questions.

About J. Clarence (Terry) Davies

Davies is one of the foremost authorities on environmental research and policy. During George H.W. Bush’s Administration, he served as EPA’s assistant administrator for Policy, Planning and Evaluation. As a senior staff member at the Council on Environmental Quality, he wrote the original version of what became the Toxic Substances Control Act. David Rejeski, Director, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies Andrew Maynard, Chief Science Advisor, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies was launched in 2005 by the Wilson Center 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.

Media planning to cover the event should contact Sharon McCarter at (202) 691-4016 or at