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Nanotechnology Demands a New Relationship Between Federal, State, and Local Regulatory Agencies
Volume 7, Issue 2

James R. Brindell

Developments in nanotechnology are occurring so rapidly and on such an international scale that the traditional federal, state, and local regulatory complex is likely to be overwhelmed. The benefits of nanomaterials arise from the changes in characteristics which occur with materials at the atomic level. These changes also present the possibility of adverse impacts. Most research, however, has focused on developing new products and applications. Relatively little research has been conducted on the potential for negative impacts. If the great potential for good from nanotechnology is to be realized while protecting workers, consumers, and the environment, then a new relationship between the federal government and state and local governments will be required. In the past, the federal preemption of state regulations generally has not been politically feasible. This article proposes a new system of “partnered preemption” on nanotechnology between the various levels of government with an emphasis on sharing information, public disclosure, and coordinating their collective scientific and monitoring resources.

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