WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee
Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Co-Chairman Daniel
Inouye (D-Hawaii) held a Full Committee Hearing on “Developments
in Nanotechnology.” Among the witnesses was Dr. J.
Clarence Davies, senior advisor, the Project on Emerging
Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International
Center for Scholars, and a senior fellow at Resources
for the Future.
Davies authored a new report released in January
2006, which examines the strengths and weaknesses
of the current regulatory framework for nanotechnology.
In the report, Davies calls for a new approach to
nanotechnology oversight. His testimony largely was
drawn from that study.
“Nanotechnology may hold the key to meeting many
of the most serious problems our society faces, especially
in the areas of medicine, energy production, environmental
remediation, and clean manufacturing. It potentially
could have huge economic and social benefits,” according
to Davies. “But existing regulatory structure does
not provide adequate protection for human health
and the environment. It suffers from gaps in statutory
authority, inadequate resources, and a poor fit between
some of the regulatory programs and the characteristics
“Given all of the shortcomings of the existing system,” he
said, “I believe that it is in everyone's interest
to start thinking about what a new law focused on
nanotechnology might look like while aggressively
closing gaps in the current system, especially in
areas such as cosmetics.”
“We have a unique opportunity to ‘get it right'
this time, and, by doing so, reduce risks to human
health and the environment, ensure public confidence
in nanotechnologies, and realize the full potential
of this new technology.”
Davies' written testimony and his report, Managing
the Effects of Nanotechnology are
both available online: www.nanotechproject.org or www.wilsoncenter.org/nano .
More information on the hearing can be found online: http://commerce.senate.gov/hearings/witnesslist.cfm?id=1736
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies was
launched in 2005 by the Wilson Center and The
Pew Charitable Trusts . It is dedicated
to helping business, governments, and the public
anticipate and manage the possible health and environmental
implications of nanotechnology.
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