In June 2003, Lord Sainsbury commissioned the Royal Society (RS) and the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) to investigate whether or not nanotechnology raises or is likely to raise new environmental, ethical, health and safety or social issues, which are not covered by current regulations. Their report was published on the 29th July 2004, and identifies a particular need for further research to understand better the risks posed by manufactured nanoparticles and nanotubes.
The Government’s response, published on the 25th February 2005, accepts this recommendation, emphasising that whilst the application of nanotechnologies offers great benefits, both in terms of wealth creation and for the protection of the environment, it is important that this new emerging technology is properly regulated. It goes on to state that work in this area will at least in part need to be informed by a comprehensive overview of the current manufacture and use of nanoparticles and nanotubes in the UK.
As a result, Defra, the Environment Agency, and the Health and Safety Executive are commissioning a 3-month research project to consider the current and short-term future scope of the manufacture and use of nanoparticles and nanotubes in the UK.
The aims of the proposed work are to:
- Set out and describe the current and short-term future scope of manufacture and use of nanoparticles and nanotubes in the UK. This will include initial and downstream manufacturers, importers and blenders and where possible identification of associated final products.
- Interface this with existing regulatory data bases to establish which (if any) regulatory regimes (e.g. PPC) regulate environmental releases from initial or downstream manufacturers in the UK.