Regulating Ecotoxicity Attributed to Nanomaterial Waste
The increasing numbers of products containing manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs) are generating nanoparticle waste, some of which is toxic to the environment. Given the potential market of nanoproducts and the growing evidence of risks, it is important to have adequate regulation of nanowaste to prevent adverse environmental and public health outcomes. This article examines the current scientific data on ecotoxicity attributed to nanotechnology and nanoproducts. The suitability of New Zealands regulation of nanoecotoxicity is evaluated. Specifically, I assess the adequacy of the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 (WMA) for regulating potential environmental risks associated with nanomaterials. I argue that there will be challenges in applying the WMA to MNMs. Current deficiencies in knowledge about nanoecotoxicity mean that there is not adequate information to assess against the statutory thresholds. The absence of documented cases of adverse environmental effects directly attributable to MNMs may mean that nanoproducts may not be singled out as products likely to harm the environment when disposed ofas waste. No jurisdiction has applied its media-specific environmental laws to nanowaste. This article explores how such law in New Zealand could be applied to nanowaste and the novel challenges posed by nanoproducts.
Publisher: Faculty of Law, University of Auckland
Rights Statement: Copyright in all published material is vested in the New Zealand Journal of Environmental Law.
Keywords: nanomaterial; regulation of nanotechnology; risk; environment
Research Type: Journal Article