As we previously posted here, DuPont and Environmental Defense recently published the first draft of their risk assessment framework for nanotechnology.  We commended the effort for its inclusive nature and focus on immediate EHS issues surrounding the use of nanotechnology.

However, a new coalition calling itself the "Civil Society-Labor Coalition" (CSLC) recently published an open letter to the nanotechnology community condemning the DuPont/Environmental Defense effort as mere "public relations." CSLC also "strongly object[ed] to any process in which broad public particpation in government oversight of nanotech policy is usurped by industry and its allies."  CSLC further condemned all "voluntary regulatory" approaches to EHS issues in general as "delaying tactics."

Unfortunately, CSLC’s open letter contains no substantive criticism or suggestions, making it hard to embrace.  CSLC’s members missed a chance to advance their position(s) on nanotechnology EHS issues in a credible way.  The "labor" portion of CSLC in particular could have used the opportunity to provide constructive guidance on what they believe are the major EHS issues confronting their member workers.  We encourage CSLC to join the "meaningful and open discussion" regarding these issues that it advocates in its open letter.

CSLC claims the following members:  AFL-CIO; Beyond Pesticides; Brazilian Research Network in Nanotechnology; Society and Environment; Center for Environmental Health; Center for Food Safety; Corporate Watch; Edmonds Institute; ETC Group; Friends of the Earth Australia; Friends of the Earth Europe; Friends of the Earth United States; Greenpeace; Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy; International Center for Technology Assessment; International Union of Food, Argricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations; Natural Resources Defense Council; Sciencecorps; Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition; Third World Network; and the United Steelworkers of America.