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Pacific Research Institute Issues Statement on Nanotechnology
New Regulations Not Needed Says Institute

 

SAN FRANCISCO – The Pacific Research Institute (PRI), a California-based free-market think tank, has challenged the conclusions reached by a recent report released by the Woodrow Wilson International Center that claims that U.S. laws and regulations cannot adequately protect the public against the risks of nanotechnology. PRI believes that calls for stricter nanotechnology laws would be a serious public policy mistake.

“Nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter at the level of individual atoms and molecules, offers the greatest benefits for society if left to grow through modest regulation, civilian research, and an emphasis on self-regulation and responsible professional culture,” said Sonia Arrison, director of Technology Studies at PRI.

In PRI's study Forward to the Future: Nanotechnology and Regulatory Policy , one of the first public policy studies to tackle the issue of nanotechnology, Glenn Harlan Reynolds, professor of law at the University of Tennessee and Instapundit blogger, drew on the experience of other regulated technologies, ranging from atomic energy to recombinant DNA. He explained that the dramatic capabilities of nanotechnology are likely to lead to misguided calls for regulation or perhaps even prohibition.

"The goal is to avoid the problems faced by genetically-modified foods -- which suffered politically as the result of too little early regulatory attention -- while also avoiding the problems facing the pharmaceutical industry, which has been regulated nearly to death," said Professor Reynolds.

“Professor Reynold's 2002 study was prescient,” said Ms. Arrison. “While nanotechnology has advanced since, the key principles that should guide its development have not. New regulations would be a disaster at this point.”

“Nanotechnology holds much promise for advances in a number of areas such as material science and medicine, but the nascent industry faces threats from those who believe government should solve problems before they occur,” Ms. Arrison said. “In order to reap the rewards and protect society from potential pitfalls, nanotech scientists must be free to develop their products as well as the rules that govern their development.”

To download a complimentary copy of Forward to the Future visit http://www.pacificresearch.org/pub/sab/techno/forward_to_nanotech.pdf or to schedule an interview with the author or editor, contact Susan Martin at 415-955-6120 or smartin@pacificresearch.org .

About PRI
For 27 years, the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) has championed freedom, opportunity, and individual responsibility through free-market policy solutions. PRI is a non-profit, non-partisan organization.

 

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This story has been adapted from a news release -
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