Nanotechnology is the manufacture and manipulation of materials that are approximately 1 to 100 nanometers in size. Over 1,000 products that use nanomaterials are already on the market, including fabrics, sporting goods, and cosmetics.
The Environmental Law Institute’s Nanotechnology Program responds to the urgent need to develop an effective environmental, health, and safety governance structure for nanotechnologies. Nanomaterials are being emitted into the air, discharged into the water, and disposed of on land with limited federal or state regulation or understanding of the possible effects on human health and the environment.
Core areas of research needed to establish a foundation for a governance structure include:
A comprehensive analysis of existing legal authorities and development of a regulatory and oversight blueprint;
An assessment of alternative governance approaches;
Development of public information and engagement tools and mechanisms; and
An examination of management and implementation issues and strategies.
Upcoming and Recent Projects
On July 10, 2013, ELI held a briefing on TSCA Reform. Moderated by ELI Senior Attorney Linda Breggin, the briefing discussed the recently introduced Chemical Safety Improvements Act (CSIA), including a discussion of what the CSIA would and would not do, why various interest groups are split in their support/opposition, keys barriers and pathways to TSCA reform, and the legislative landscape for this and future TSCA reform efforts.
Publications and Convenings
ELI’s Nanotechnology Program produces timely publications and stakeholder convenings that foster the development of an effective environmental, health, and safety governance structure for nanotechnologies.
For example, ELI convened experts to discuss its publication Securing the Promise of Nanotechnologies: Towards Transatlantic Regulatory Cooperation in London and in Washington, DC. The report was supported by a grant from the European Commission to researchers at ELI, the London School of Economics and Political Science, Chatham House, and the Woodrow Wilson Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies.
In addition to other publications, ELI publishes the Nanotechnology Deskbook by Lynn Bergeson (Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.) and Tracy Hester (Bracewell & Giuliani, LLP), which guides the reader through the application of existing law and regulations to nanomaterials.
The Nanotechnology Program is led by Linda Breggin.