Inspiration for a new approach to risk regulation for nanotechnology

I’m getting into the home stretch now regarding the ‘Risk Management Principle for Nanotechnology’ article. After dealing with the ‘classic’ risk principles and the newer precautionary principles, the authors (Marchant, Sylvester, and Abbott) unveil a theory for their proposed ‘new principles’. The theory is based on work by I. Ayres and J. Braithwaite on something they call, ‘Responsive Regulation’. Briefly, they suggest avoiding the regulation/deregulation debate in favour of a flexible regulatory approach where a range of strategies are employed.

With this tool kit [range of strategies] in hand, regulators can play a tit-for-tat strategy: they allow firms to self-regulate so long as the firms reciprocate with responsible action; if instead some firms act opportunistically, regulators respond to the defectors with appropriate penalties and more stringent regulation. p. 52 (Nanoethics, 2008, vol. 2 pp. 43-60

There are some difficulties associated with this approach but that is being saved for my next posting in this series.

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies has two events coming up. ‘Synthetic Biology: Is Ethics a Showstopper?’ on Thursday, January 8, 2009 from 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm (EST). For information on location (you have to RSVP) or how to attend via webcast (no RSVP required), check here. The other event is called, ‘Nanotech and Your Daily Vitamins; Barriers to Effective FDA Regulation of Nanotechnology-Based Dietary Supplements’ and will be held on Thursday, January 15 (?) from 9:30 am – 10:30 am (EST). The date listed on their website and in their invitation is January 14, which is incorrect. I imagine they’ll correct either the date or date soon. For more details about the event itself, the physical location (If you’re planning to go, please RSVP), or the webcast directions (RSVP) not required) please check here.

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