The Swiss think tank ‘The Innovation Society’ has released a report titled “Framing Nano” (pdf) which explores governance and regulation/legislation in nanotechnology.
- France, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK and some Scandinavian countries are the most active countries in Europe in addressing the issues related to nanoregulation. The report also describes the various voluntary measures currently in progress or already completed.
- Nanoregulation must be regarded as a dynamic issue which must adapt to the evolution of the scientific knowledge, applications and public attitude. A continuous updating must be part of the governance of nanotechnology.
- Public acceptance and public engagement are core aspects of the debate. While in the USA and some other countries, public participation is seen, in the first place, as an instrument to ensure public acceptance (or to avoid negative risk perception), European vision seems more focused on fostering the broader concept of “public engagement” in the development and governance of nanotechnologies as a way of democratic legitimisation.
- As a general conclusion, most governments and regulatory authorities consider existing regulatory frameworks, such as REACH in Europe and TSCA in USA, appropriate in principle to deal with many of the nanomaterials currently in use. However, the many divergent positions regarding different stakeholder groups are also pointed out in the mapping study.
The bolded text speaks to a report (Religious beliefs and public attitudes toward nanotechnology in Europe and the United States) released in Dec of 08 regarding a survey of Nanotechnology’s “Moral Acceptability.” The study established a correlation between religiosity and moral acceptability of nanotechnology. The more religious respondants deemed nanotechnology more unacceptable. This is a feature of the American psyche that has affected how public institutions approach and frame Nano issues. To appear safe, new technologies must be more rigorously framed as morally ambivalent than in European (read: godless) nations. Observe the pretty graph: