Friday, January 26, 2007

Are Madison and Ithaca next? Local nano regulations in Cambridge

After a report in The Boston Globe today that the Cambridge City Council may follow the City of Berkeley's lead and regulate nano research and manufacturing at the local level, it is probably just a matter of time before Madison, WI and Ithaca, NY follow suit and announce their own regulatory initiatives. Stay tuned.
From The Boston Globe today:

"The Cambridge City Council is considering a law to regulate the use of super-small nanoparticles in research and manufacturing. If the council decides to act, it will make Cambridge the second city in the United States, after Berkeley, Calif., to regulate nanotechnology.

'We hope that nanotech is going to be a big part of new industry in Cambridge,' said council member Henrietta Davis. But Davis said the city should make sure that nano-based businesses ply their trade safely. 'It's not my intention to stifle it,' she said. 'It's more to be proactive.'


On Jan. 8, the Cambridge City Council voted to ask Lipson to study the nanotechnology regulation enacted in Berkeley last year, and recommend a similar statute for Cambridge. Under the Berkeley law, companies and research labs that make nanoparticles, or use them in manufacturing or research, must disclose that fact to the city government. In addition, the users must provide information on any known health or safety risks posed by the nanomaterial, and must report on how the materials will be handled, stored, and disposed of. The City Council ordered Lipson to study the Berkeley law and determine whether it makes sense to draw up a similar statute.


Davis said prospects for a nanotech ordinance are good. 'If it comes from the Public Health Department, I think it's pretty likely to be passed,' she said. 'The standard having been set by Berkeley, we will probably do something very similar to them.'"

(Clock here for the full story.)


The Professor said...

As I've said before, Madison, Cambridge, Ithaca, and Berkeley are the only places in the country with an issue public big enough on nanotechnology to actually organize collectively for local regulation. The rest of the country will remain in a college football and Taco Bell induced daze.