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Nanotech conference tackles big policy questions for the 'small' science

February 16, 2011

Twenty-eleven is the year that regulation of nanotechnology will move from a hypothetical possibility to a real issue for companies in virtually every industry sector that are benefitting from the new science of nanotechnology. Such regulation will raise profound policy, business and legal issues, which will be examined at a conference on March 21 sponsored by the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

“The Biggest Issues for the Smallest Stuff: Regulation and Risk Management of Nanotechnology” will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. It is co-hosted by the College of Law’s Center for Law, Science & Innovation, The Center for Nanotechnology in Society at ASU, the law firm of Polsinelli Shughart PC, the Arizona Nanotechnology Cluster, the ABA Section of Science & Technology and the Arizona Nanotechnology Cluster, and is presented by Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science, and Technology, an American Bar Association publication produced at the College of Law.

Known as the science of the small – the ability to manipulate and utilize materials at the “nanoscale” level where they display unique and beneficial characteristics – nanotechnology is a growing science with big implications for health, safety, quality of life and environmental concerns.

The conference will feature top national and international experts from government, industry, non-governmental organizations, the insurance industry and academia, including Steve Owens, Assistant Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, and Robert Falkner of the London School of Economics and LSE Global Governance.

Panel sessions and panelists include:

“The Regulatory Challenges of Nanotechnology”
Nano Overview and Benefits: Vincent Caprio, Executive Director, NanoBusiness Alliance
Scientific Challenges: Kiril Hristovski, Assistant Professor, College of Technology and Innovation, ASU
Regulatory Challenges: Gary Marchant, Executive Director, Center for Law, Science & Innovation, and Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law and Ethics, ASU
Public Challenges: Elizabeth Corley, Associate Professor, School of Public Affairs, ASU

“Regulatory Agency Perspectives”
Jeff Morris, National Program Director for Nanotechnology, EPA
Charles Geraci, Coordinator, Nanotechnology Research Center, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Ritu Nalubola, Policy Analyst, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Jeffrey Wong, Chief Scientist, California Department of Toxic Substances Control, California Environmental Protection Agency

“Non-Regulatory Risk Management Approaches”
• Overview of Non-Regulatory Approaches: Daniel Fiorino, Executive in Residence, Department of Public Adminstration and Policy, American University
• EDF-Dupont NanoRisk Framework: Terry Medley, Global Director of Corporate Regulatory Affairs, DuPont
• Responsible NanoCode: Steffi Friedrichs, Director, Nanotechnology Industries Association
• European Code of Conduct: Rene VonSchomberg, European Union

“Stakeholder Perspectives”
• NGO Perspective: Jennifer Sass, Senior Scientist, Health and Environment Program, Natural Resources Defense Council
• Legal Practitioner Perspective: John C. Monica Jr., Porter Wright.

“Is Liability in the Future of Nanotechnology?”
• Timothy F. Malloy, Professor and Faculty Director, Sustainable Technology and Policy Program, UCLA School of Law
• Edward R. Glady, Jr., Polsinelli Shughart, PC

Nanotechnology, the science of the very small, is a rapidly emerging set of technologies being applied in virtually every industry sector, including health care, energy, food, cosmetics, materials, computer and communication technologies, automotive, environmental services and many others. At the same time that nanotechnology is providing many new exciting applications and benefits, it also has the potential to create significant new risks for workers, consumers and the environment.

After several years of studying the problem, federal agencies such as EPA, FDA and NIOSH are now moving forward with more active regulation of nanotechnology while, at the same time, a variety of other non-regulatory risk management and safety initiatives are being proposed or implemented.

“The regulation and risk management of nanotechnology is likely to affect a large number of companies across the economy, given the increasing prevalence of nanotechnology,” said Gary Marchant, Executive Director of the Center for Law, Science & Innovation, and Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law and Ethics at ASU. “This conference presents a unique opportunity to hear from the top experts from around the world on how nanotechnology should be regulated and managed.”

Registration is $75 (general), and $25 (ASU students and faculty), and CLE will be offered for $150 to private attorneys and $100 to public attorneys. For more information and to register, visit

Janie Magruder,
Office of Communications, College of Law