Report warns of nanotechnology’s toxic risks

Published Apr 2, 2008 — 16916 views

While nanotechnology promises to transform the fields of electronics, medicine, environmental remediation, and solar energy, the “nano boom” is not without substantial envirnmental risks, warns the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) in a newly published 30-page report.

“The current landscape with respect to environmental knowledge about nanotechnology is eerily similar to the landscape of the 60s for basic chemicals,” explains Sheila Davis, SVTC’s Executive Director. “Landmark environmental acts passed in the 70s and 80s are out dated and do not apply to nanotech. We also lack monitoring and detection technology, and cleanup practices have not been established.”

(Click to enlarge; source: Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition)

The report is organized into nine sections and two appendices:

  • What Is Nanotechnology?
  • Potential Environmental and Health Hazards of Nanotechnology and Nanomaterials
  • State of Nanotechnology in the San Francisco Bay Area
  • A Look Back: 1981 Exposure of Santa Clara County Residents to Toxic Chemicals Spilled from IBM and Fairchild Electronics
  • Manufacturing Facilities and Implications for Nanotechnology Regulation
  • Lessons Learned: Closing the Gaps
  • Federal Environmental Regulatory Gaps and Implications for Regulating Facilities Using Nanotechnology
  • Recommendations
  • Call to Action
  • Appendix A: Nanotechnology Health and Environmental Impact
  • Appendix B: Chemicals Used in Semiconductor Manufacturing

The report concludes with the following specific calls to action:

  • Support mandatory labeling requirements
  • Support requirements that manufacturers of products containing nanomaterials take responsibility for worker and consumer safety throughout the product lifecycle
  • Support the Principles for the Oversight of Nanotechnologies and Nanomaterials
  • Ask local nanotech companies to work with nearby communities to complete community action questionnaires and take steps to protect community health
  • Pass community right-to-know laws in your community
  • Help SVTC build a Community Right-to-Know Registry of nanotech companies in your community

The Nanotech Report can be downloaded free of charge from the SVTC’s website, here.

One response to “Report warns of nanotechnology’s toxic risks”

  1. Madhukar says:

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    I appreciate ur great job