The Case of Nanotechnology

We look across the Pond today  to a posting on the Lloyd’s risk blog by Trevor Maynard, head of the emerging risks team. It highlights the findings of a new report by the UK’s Royal Commission on the challenges and benefits arising from nanotechnology. The report points to areas of concern about governance and regulation of nanomaterials, such as “the profound ignorance and uncertainty about the behavior of some types of nanomaterial in the environment or the risks they pose for human health.† The Commission suggests that existing regulatory frameworks will need to be adapted to deal with nanomaterials. Here in the United States, the FDA’s Nanotechnology TaskForce report last year recommended the agency consider developing guidance to address the benefits and risks of drugs and medical devices using nanotechnology. As we’ve noted before, new technologies bring with them inherent benefits as well as risks. More than $1.1 trillion of products across a broad range of sectors incorporated nanotechnology in 2007, and this impact could extend to nearly $4 trillion by 2015, according to market research firm Lux Research. Food, drugs, medical devices and cosmetics are just some of the products that may incorporate nanomaterials. On both sides of the Atlantic, the regulation of nanotechnology is an evolving area that insurers will be monitoring.  

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