Ever since the discovery that very small particles of some substances evince
different properties than the substances do in ‘bulk’ form, there has been an
interest in developing ‘nanomaterials’ for commercial and industrial purposes.
Although some nanomaterials exist in nature, most are chemically engineered
for application in a wide variety of processes, ultimately entering the
environment in many foods, drugs, cosmetics, clothing, sports goods,
pesticides, packaging products and electronics, as well as in the particularly
controversial form of tiny ‘machines’.
Since the long-term effects of these new, laboratory-created materials and
tools on health and the environment are unknown ; and as the particles are so
small they can frustrate measuring and monitoring devices ; there has been a
growing call for regulation of their use.
This is the first book to offer a thorough analysis of the problems posed by
nanotechnology in the context of existing legal schemes and trends, focusing
on initiatives and debates in the European Union but also considering
developments at the global level and in the United States, Canada, Australia,
Japan and China.
Setting out how the current debate has arisen, how existing law deals with the
issues arising around nanotechnology in areas such as patent rights and
manufacturers’ liability, and how various international organizations are
searching for some global consensus, the book addresses topics and issues
including the following:
Nanomaterials are already a commercial reality; the regulatory debate centres
on the question of how to maximize the benefits they may offer while also
limiting the risk from unforeseen hazards. This book clearly and
comprehensively describes the range of issues relating to the legal framework
and practicalities for commercial exploitation of nanotechnologies, and as
such will prove of great value and importance to corporate counsel in many
manufacturing sectors as well as to regulators and policy makers in
environmental and trade law.
patentability of nanomaterial products and processes;
trade secrecy and nanotechnology;
waste and disposal issues;
occupational health and safety issues;
international initiatives – OECD, FAO, WHO, UNEP and the International
Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM);
intersection of nanotechnology with the most important fields of economic
the extent to which exclusive rights have been registered over early
developments in nanotechnology;
the practical viability of pre-market toxicity investigation and postmarketing
contractual and tortious approaches to real or potential liability for harm;
application of the precautionary principle in law and regulation; and
political responses to existing legislation.
Lorna is a partner in the London office of
Bird & Bird LLP.
List of Abbreviations.
Chapter 1 Nanotechnology in the Twenty-First Century.
Chapter 2 Exploitation of Nanotechnology.
Chapter 3 Nanotechnology in Unregulated Sectors.
Chapter 4 Regulatory Approaches.
Chapter 5 International Initiatives.
Chapter 6 Regulation in Europe.
Chapter 7 Beyond Europe: An Overview.
Appendix I EU NanoCode.
Appendix II Precautionary Matrix for Synthetic Nanomaterials.
Appendix III Final Version of Classification, Labelling and Packaging
of Nanomaterials in REACH and CLP.
Appendix IV Commission Recommendation on the Definition of
Table of Cases.
Table of Legislation.