Saturday, November 25, 2006

City of Berkeley first to implement nano regulations ... almost

Based on a report by the San Francisco Chronicle, City of Berkeley officials are proposing what may turn out to be the first local regulations for labs and businesses working with materials at the nanoscale.

"The ordinance goes to the City Council for discussion on Dec. 5. If approved, it would add a nanoparticles health and safety disclosure to a city law that already requires an inventory and safety plan from any business or other person handling large quantities of hazardous materials.”

The City of Berkeley, unfortunately, was beaten to the punch by the Environmental Protection Agency (see nanopublic posting from November 23, 2006) who announced regulations related to specific nano particles just before the weekend. According to the SF Chronicle piece, that didn't seem to matter too much for Nabil Al-Hadithy, the City of Berkeley's hazardous materials manager, who still called the proposed city ordinance "the first actual regulation of nanoparticles per se."

"There have been a great number of attempts to regulate them, and they've all amounted to nothing because of the fear of upsetting industry, which leaves workers and the community at some unknown risk," he said. "It's the unknown that's a concern to us."