On December 5, 2006 the Berkeley, California City Council will have its first reading of an ordinance to amend its municipal laws to included specific regulation of nanoparticles. If passed, this would be the first known instance of nanoparticle regulation at the local level.
The draft agenda for Council’s December 5 meeting includes, as "new business," a first reading of an ordinance entitled "Manufactured Nanoparticle Health and Safety Disclosure." This ordinance is an amendment to Berkeley Municipal Code Sections 15.12.040 and 15.12.050, addressing disclosure requirements for hazardous materials and waste management. Those immediately impacted include the University of California-Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, both of which conduct nanotechnology research within Berkeley City Limits. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the amendment is being urged by the Community Environmental Advisory Committee "because so little is understood about the possible impact of the materials on human health."
The draft ordinance is also asking that letters be sent to elected officials asking them to earmark a percentage of funds included in the National Nanotechnology Initiative’s annual budget for health and safety research.
Updates on the progress of this ordinance will be posted as they become available.