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Nanotechnology and Exploding Steamboats: “Nobody to Blame”
Volume 7, Issue 3

Lewis Laska

Steamboat accidents in the United States illustrate a multi-decade situation where a new technology caused tragic accidents that continuously claimed lives. Congressional debates on the topic from the era of steamboats are surprisingly similar to those surrounding nanotechnology today. Examining the success of historical measures adopted by Congress, the author suggests a burden-shifting strict-liability law for consumer nanotechnology products, and requiring manufacturers to conduct research on the safety of engineered nanoparticles used in consumer products.

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