Cambridge, Massachusetts Nanotechnology Advisory Committee
Recommends Registration of Engineered Nanoscale Materials

Deadline for Similar Voluntary Registration Program by U.S. EPA Closes  

Washington, D.C. – July 28, 2008 – Porter Wright attorney John C. Monica, Jr., served as part of the Nanotechnology Advisory Committee of Cambridge, Massachusetts (NAC), which, after a year of deliberation and information gathering, recommended that the City require the registration of engineered nanoscale materials within city limits. The Cambridge City Counsel is set to adopt those recommendations at a meeting scheduled for tomorrow. Cambridge – host to approximately one dozen nanotechnology-related businesses – is just the second U.S. city (behind Berkeley, California) to require registration of nanomaterials.

“Interest in regulating nanotechnology has increased in recent years due to the recognition that certain materials may take on new and unexpected properties when they are engineered at the nanoscale,” said Monica, a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, LLP and a recognized national authority on nanotechnology product liability and environmental health and safety issues. “The City of Cambridge has approached nanotechnology in a very deliberate, considered manner and appears poised to take steps that promote public safety without stifling nanoscale innovation,” he continued.

The NAC – comprised of citizens, scientists, industrial hygienists, university faculty, nano-businesses, and private environmental consulting firms – also recommended that Cambridge’s City Counsel act to assist businesses with updates to health and safety plans for workers; educate the public; track health and safety developments; and monitor regulatory initiatives in other jurisdictions.

The City’s steps follow closely on the heels of the July 28, 2008 deadline for the first phase of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) voluntary registration program – the Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program (NMSP). NMSP asked companies to report voluntarily to EPA existing data concerning nanoscale materials’ uses, hazards, exposure levels, and risk-management practices. To date, about 20 companies have provided or promised to provide information.

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