Risk Perception Group Paper Selected by ES&T as one of 2013's Best

Christian Beaudrie

Work by CNS-UCSB collaborators has garnered the distinction of being named one of the best 15 papers published in Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T) in 2013. The paper, titled "From Cradle-to-Grave at the Nanoscale: gaps in U.S. Regulatory Oversight along the Nanomaterial Life Cycle," was named by ES&T's editors as the first runner-up in the category of Environmental Policy. It was selected from 1,730 articles published in ES&T last year.

The authors - Christian Beaudrie, Milind Kandlikar, and Terre Satterfield - argue that the U.S. Environmental Health and Safety regulatory system is ill-prepared to manage the risks posed by nanomaterials over the course of their lifetime, from initial manufacturing to disposal. The qualities that render nanomaterials so promising for new technologies - for instance high surface area to volume ratio and novel semiconductive properties - also make them unpredictable actors in the environment and human body. The alphabet soup of laws and agencies designed to regulate conventional materials are ill-equipped to predict and mitigate potential deleterious effects of nanomaterials.

The authors suggest reforms for closing regulatory gaps, and also call for more funding of nanotechnology risk research. Beaudrie, Kandlikar, and Satterfield are all affiliated with the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia.

Along with funding from the UCSB Center for Nanotechnology in Society, they received support from the University of California Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

(Photo: Corresponding Author Christian Beaudrie)