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The so-called Berkeley Nanotechnology Regulation

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The famous first-in-the-world Nanotechnology Regulation of the City of Berkeley took effect last week. Curious on what the law actually contains? Take a peek:
15.12.040 Filing of disclosure information.
I. All facilities that manufacture or use manufactured nanoparticles shall submit a separate written disclosure of the current toxicology of the materials reported, to the extent known, and how the facility will safely handle, monitor, contain, dispose, track inventory, prevent releases and mitigate such materials.

15.12.050 Quantities requiring disclosure.
C. The following disclosure requirements shall apply in addition to those in subsections A and B of this section:
7. All manufactured nanoparticles, defined as a particle with one axis less than 100
nanometers in length, shall be reported in the disclosure plan.
That's it. Simple right? Nothing's special at all, the regulation only imposes a duty to report the toxicology features of nanoparticles being manufactured. Here's my analysis:
  1. The duty is to report, no more, no less
  2. There are no exact standard as to the form of the report
  3. General minimum disclosure standards may apply. Producers shall disclose anything within the boundaries of their present knowledge. Non disclosure may arise civil liability
  4. It only applies to "manufactured" nanoparticles produced in the Jurisdiction of the city of Berkeley. That means, natural nanoparticle or nanoparticle resulting from side-reaction could be exempted from this regulation. This could also mean that nanoparticles being imported to Berkeley is outside the scope of this regulation
  5. The city cannot ban production and sale of nanoparticles by simply basing itself on the regulation. These are EPA's authority
  6. The regulation does not regulate nanotechnology as a whole! It only regulates nanoparticle. Obviously, nanostructures are exempted from this regulation
  7. There could be problems with regards to the definition of "nanoparticle"
So, those are the analysis. Really-realy nothing special. I wonder why it had been such a big fuss. By the way, you can download the draft regulation yourself here. Let me know if your analysis are different than mine.

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ATTENTION: This post has been updated here.