Title: Applying a precautionary risk management strategy for regulation of nanotechnology

Authors: Michael G. Tyshenko, Nawal Farhat, Roxanne Lewis, Natalia Shilnikova, Daniel Krewski

Addresses: McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6N5, Canada. ' McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6N5, Canada. ' McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6N5, Canada. ' McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6N5, Canada. ' McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6N5, Canada; Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario, K1H 8M5, Canada

Abstract: Nanotechnology promises a multiplicity of benefits to society. At the same time it has become a focus of debate regarding potential health and other associated risks. Rejection of new nanotechnology innovations could result in loss of trust in regulators, a phenomenon observed previously with nuclear and genetically altered food crop technologies. Due to this uncertainty a precautionary approach is warranted. The anticipated four stages of nanotechnology development, from passive to more active forms, are arrayed against existing risk management strategies of a precautionary nature. The overlay suggests that precaution is appropriate for all stages of nanotechnology development. Other effects from innovation, such as socio-economic inequity, disruptive impact on labour markets, alteration of global trade and unintended health and environmental impacts, can also be minimised by applying a precautionary approach. The use of a precautionary approach can provide protection to developers of nanotechnology, to individuals and to the environment.

Keywords: nanotechnology regulation; precaution; precautionary risk management; social cohesion; public perception; nanotechnology innovation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNT.2010.031313

International Journal of Nanotechnology, 2010 Vol.7 No.2/3, pp.243 - 264

Published online: 29 Jan 2010 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article