John Monica, Michael Heintz and I have recently had an article published in the magazine Nature Nanotechnology (Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 68-70 (Feb. 2007)) entitled "The Perils of Preemptive Regulation." The full text of the article is available here (subscription required). The lede/abstract of the article is:
In its rush to introduce new regulations about the handling of nanomaterials, the city of Berkeley in California has made mistakes that should not be repeated elsewhere.
In it, we analyze and critique the approach that Berkeley, California has taken in its quest to become the first American jurisdiction to regulate nanomaterials. In particular, we question whether a "reporting requirement" that forces nanotechnology companies to do comprehensive literature reviews of environmental, health and safety ("EHS") literature pertaining to nanomaterials on an annual basis will significantly advance nanotechnology safety. We also wonder whether the de facto characterization of nanomaterials as "hazardous" by the city of Berkeley will invite unmeritorious litigation. That sort of litigation might well cripple this industry and hamper efforts to research, develop, and commercialize this potentially revolutionary new technology.