Postprint version. Published in Nanoethics, Volume 1, Issue 2, August 1, 2007, pages 105-122.
Copyright © 2007 Springer.
The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11569-007-0012-9.
In continuing news, there is a growing debate on whether current laws and regulations, both in the US and abroad, need to be strengthened as they relate to nanotechnology. On one side, experts argue that nanomaterials, which are making their way into the marketplace today, are possibly harmful to consumers and the environment, so stronger and new laws are needed to ensure they are safe. On the other side, different experts argue that more regulation will slow down the pace of business and innovation in nanotechnology, or that self-regulation is the answer, or other opposing positions. This paper will draw out the core issues behind the debate and explain that there is more at stake than merely environmental, health and safety (EHS) worries or business interests, as it first appears. We will also suggest an alternative solution to stricter laws, since stricter laws would face formidable practical challenges, even if they are warranted.