International Association of Nanotechnology
2386 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 95825
1750 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94111
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Press Release Press contact: Diana Rudé, Director, Government Relations
November 7, 2006 (916) 529-4119

San Francisco. The International Association of Nanotechnology (IANANO) sponsored a panel discussion on environmental health and safety at its 3rd International Congress of Nanotechnology (ICNT), held on October 30 – November 2, 2006 in San Francisco. IANANO convened the panel in recognition of the current information gap concerning the potential health risks associated with nanotechnology.

Speakers on the panel included two product liability attorneys – John C. Monica, Jr. of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP, Cleveland, Ohio, and Antony Klapper of Reed Smith LLP, Washington, D.C.; and Dr.  Justin Teeguarden, Senior Research Scientist, from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland,  Washington and Matthew Hull, principal Investigator from Luna Innovations, Inc, Blacksburg, Virginia.

Lloyd L. Tran, the conference chair, pointed to the dearth of toxicological data, lack of consistent nomenclature across disciplines, and currently evolving governmental regulatory schemes as presenting significant challenges to nanotechnology companies. Tran noted, “With this gap, nanotechnology companies would have difficulty in identifying any possible health risks associated with nanotechnology and determining how to best manage and avoid any such risks.”

Klapper stated "companies should implement risk management strategies they believe reasonably respond to identified risks based on available scientific data, information gleaned from analogous substances, and scientific judgment." Monica added that "this is particularly the case given recent legal developments concerning a manufacturer’s duty to know its products and the commensurate duty to warn. While nano-companies should not necessarily rush out and initiate their own toxicological research, they should certainly make themselves aware of the state of current scientific literature regarding nanotechnology and health issues."

Dr. Teeguarden agreed with the need for small and large companies, insurance agencies and venture capitalists to manage their own product risks by staying abreast of health and safety issues for nanomaterials, but noted that “The field of nanotoxicology is playing catch up with the manufacture and commercial use of these nanotechnology based products… it is too early to make generalizations about either their toxicity or their safety or to make regulatory decisions.” He added that “Sound science and a significant body of basic research are necessary before we have a good basis for product safety evaluations and a credible framework for regulation, if regulation is necessary.”

Hull’s presentation described a program he leads at Luna known as NanoSafe, which has emerged as a model of how facilities, particularly small businesses, can proactively manage nanotech EHS risks. The program consists of a five-point management framework and involves collaboration and information exchange with government agencies, federal and academic research labs, and industry.

About the International Association of Nanotechnology:

The International Association of Nanotechnology is a non-profit association with the goal to foster research and business collaboration in nanotechnology worldwide for the benefit of society. The Association sponsors the annual meeting of the International Congress of Nanotechnology. The Association is planning to compile a database on health, safety and toxicity data of nanomaterials
products. For further information, please visit the web site: