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Local officials move toward monitoring nanotechnologies
Date:7/28/2008

Washington, DC State and local officials have taken steps to begin monitoring the manufacture and storage of nanomaterials, a major step for a cutting-edge technology that has yet to be regulated by the federal government.

On July 28, the Cambridge (Mass.) Public Health Department recommended to the city manager that Cambridge take several steps to gain a better understanding of the nature and extent of nanotechnology-related activities now underway within the city. In addition, news outlets are reporting that a key member of California State Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials is holding meetings around the state in advance of introducing legislation next year that may grant state regulators landmark oversight of nanomaterials.

In 2006, Berkeley, Calif., passed the first local ordinance in the nation by requiring handlers of nanomaterials to submit toxicology reports on the materials to the city government.

The efforts by state and local officials come as the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) recently released a report that discusses possible options for state and local governments to follow for oversight of potential negative impacts of nanotechnology including local air, waste and water regulations, as well as labeling and worker safety requirements.

"In the absence of action at the federal level, local and state governments may begin to explore their options for oversight of nanotechnologies," says Suellen Keiner, the author of Room at the Bottom? Potential State and Local Strategies for Managing the Risks and Benefits of Nanotechnology.

Another recent PEN report, Application of the Toxics Release Inventory To Nanomaterials, addresses the potential application of local "right-to-know" laws concerning nanotechnologies.

The Cambridge Public Health Department, in collaboration with the Cambridge Nanomaterials Advisory Committee, in its new report does not recommen
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Contact: Colin Finan
colin.finan@wilsoncenter.org
202-691-4321
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
Source:Eurekalert

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