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Report: Asbestos Litigation Disaster for Investors Could Be Repeated With Nanotechnology Unless SEC and FASB Close Eight Major Loopholes Now Preventing Honest Disclosures
Date:6/16/2009

on the identified loopholes in securities and accounting rules, the credibility of corporate reports as a means of assessing the financial value of companies is in doubt. The FASB and SEC must act quickly and decisively to close the eight loopholes identified in the report."

Commenting on the report, David Rejeski, director, project on emerging nanotechnologies, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and former federal agency representative, White House Council on Environmental Quality, said: "While billions of dollars have been devoted to developing nanomaterials and introducing them into commerce, much less effort has been devoted to assessing their toxicity and developing governance systems for them. IEHN's new report identifies major holes in existing rules for addressing financial liabilities and offers constructive suggestions for filling them. Ultimately, a regulatory system that does not address the liabilities of existing nanotechnologies puts consumers, investors, shareholders, and the environment at risk and compromises the future promise of the technology."

The new IEHN report concludes: "As a result of weak regulations, companies do not assess, quantify or disclose potential and pending liabilities on a timely basis .... [S]hareholders and analysts are unable to use existing disclosures for a realistic evaluation of many companies. Today, as potentially ultrahazardous nanotechnologies enter the market, the same regulatory weaknesses that allowed asbestos manufacturers to conceal information from investors are being abused once again to conceal information regarding the newer technologies. Regulators must act now to prevent a repeat of past financial disasters, and to ensure that investors' expectations of forthright accounting are met. Although our report focuses on product-related liabilities, many of our findings are equally applicable to the broader array of contingent liabilities that
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SOURCE Investor Environmental Health Network, Falls Church, VA
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