Just back from the Would NanoEcomic Congress / NanoTrends conference in Munich, and the environment was naturally high on the agenda. Many people expressed surprise to see that the European NanoBusiness Association, Greenpeace and Dechema (a German chemical and biotech trade association) were all in broad agreement over environmental risks.
Specifically, we agreed that there are areas where we do not have sufficient information to accurately assess the risks, and that these blank areas of the map need to be addressed as soon as possible. Whatever the viewpoint, environmental, business or regulatory, no one wants to either risk being over regulated in a few years – imagine the effect if carbon nanotubes were suddenly subject to regulations similar to those affecting pharmaceutical industry. A sudden increase in regulatory costs would cause a large number of companies, especially in areas such as materials where margins are already wafer thin, to simply shut up shop.
Questions of liability already being addressed by Swiss Re and others are another reason to get the work done, and get it done quickly.