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EU Regulation of Nanobiotechnology
Volume 9, Issue 2

John Quinn

Nanobiotechnology refers to the interaction of technology on a nano scale with biology, and has been defined as a field that applies the nanoscale principles and techniques to understand and transform biosystems and which uses biological principles and materials to create new devices and systems integrated from the nanoscale. Nanobiotechnology puts nanotechnology in the living world and so raises many ethical and practical questions such as safety for individual organisms and biological systems as well as possible long term environmental effects. Despite nanobiotechnology being a very recent development, there are current uses of the technology in the biological world which highlight which regulatory options ought to be examined closely. This article outlines current applications in addition to potential risks and benefits offered by both nanotechnology and nanobiotechnology. It then examines the existing framework of legislation and criticizes the lack of nano-specific regulations, as well as the EU Commission’s plans to continue to fit nanotechnology within the current structure. Finally, it analyzes the doctrine of the precautionary principle, concluding that anything other than a light application of the canon would be a gross misuse of the precautionary principle.

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