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NANOSCALE TECHNOLOGY IN THE ENVIRONMENT: A
DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD AND ITS POSITION UNDER
THE INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
INTERNATIONAL POSTGRADUATE LEGAL RESEARCH CONFERENCE 2015
MOHAMMAD ERSHADUL KARIM
FACULTY OF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF MALAYA
24 March 2015
ABOUT ME
• Non-practicing lawyer enrolled with Bangladesh Supreme Court.
• Doctoral Candidate in Nanotechnology Law and policy in University of Malaya,
Malaysia.
• Editor, Chancery Law Chronicles, First Ever Online Database of Bangladesh
Laws [www.clcbd.org]
• National Contributor for Bangladesh, Yearbook of International Environmental
Law, Oxford University.
• Chapter Experts on Legal System of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran,
Maldives, Myanmar and Nepal for GlobaLex, New York University.
• Editorial Co-ordinator, Journal of East Asia and International Law, South Korea
[Thompson Reuter ISI-Indexed Journal]
• Foreign Researcher, Kyoto Comparative Law Center, Japan.
PRESENTATION OUTLINE
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Introduction
Uses and Applications
Environmental Concerns
International Environmental Law
Municipal Regulations
Present Status on Regulation
Concluding Thoughts
INTRODUCTION
 Human history is described by different ages
- stone age, bronze age, iron age
- fire > electricity invented
- ICT > Biotechnology
- Next ? [The answer is ‘Nanotechnology’, a magic by 2025]
 Nanotechnology is the catalyst for ‘next industrial revolution’, ‘the wave of the
future’.
 Nanotech is coined as ‘generic tech’ [diversified as IT]; enabling tech [add new
features]; transformative technology [similar effects like steam engine, electricity]
It is now in a stage where IT was in 1960s and Biotechnology was in 1980s. Also,
compared with Plastic Revolution of 1960s.
 Academics are similarly enthusiastic. Between Aug. 2008-July 2009, 91,500
papers were published [90% by 15 countries]
Its better to describe than to define as more than 30 definitions are
available.
Two sets of definitions available- single based e.g. US NNI and list base e.g.
EPO
Case-by-Case approach and ‘Do not Define’.
Nano means ‘one-billionth’. So, one nanometer (nm) means ‘one billionth a
meter’.
A sheet of paper = 100,000 nm thick, one inch= 254,00,000 nm, human hair
= 75,000 nm.
Nano>Nanoparticle>Nanomaterial>Nanotechnology
At the nanoscale (under 10-20nm), materials behave dramatically and
unpredictably. That’s the ultimate regulatory challenge.
Nano is an scale of measurement- like meter, kilometer, centimeter, bite, byte, kilobyte, megabyte, etc.
Nanoparticles are ubiquitous in nature- in fume, dust, clay, butterfly, gecko,
etc. [Natural]
Nanoparticles were used in ancient Greece, Rome, China and India.
[Accidental]
Nanoparticles which can be manipulated at atomic scale [Engineered].
Scientists are able to add different criteria and thus can make lighter,
stronger, durable, efficient products with ENPs.
• NMs were present in ‘Damascus steel’ used in ancient and
medieval period.
• Silver nano was used in ancient Greece, nano in ceramic was
know in ancient Rome.
• Gold NP were used in Egypt, China, India.
• Indian ‘Kajal’ used to contain Carbon Nanotube.
• Modern Science fictions, cartoon used the concept since 1940s.
• 1957, Noble Laureate (1965) Richard Feyman delivered lecture
on “There’s Plenty of Room at the bottom” at CalTech.
• 1974, Japanese Prof. Norio Taniguchi used first ‘Nanotech’.
• 1986, IBM researchers and Noble Laureate Binnig and Rohrer
invested scanning tunneling microscope.
• Some researchers considered the religious root of nano/atom
also. The word ‘zarra’
as used in Holy Quran in , e.g. surah
al zilzal denotes ‘atom’.
• Other religion- Christian, Kabbalah, Hindu, Buddhism also .
USES AND APPLICATIONS
 Virtually limitless potential.
 Can be used in almost every
single area of human need.
 More than few thousands of
consumer products already
in the market.
 ILO- by 2020, more than 20%
of
products
will
be
nanoenabled.
 United
Nations
recommended for achieving
MDGs and using to improve
the quality of lives of 5b
people
of
developing
countries.
• Nanotechnology has tremendous prospects in environmental protections-
 Pest control
 Pollution control
 Green energy
 Clean water
 Food production, etc.
There are some serious concerns too as the exact and precise behavior of
these ENMs are still unknown.
LIFE CYCLE OF NANOMATERIALS: EXPOSURE
CONCERNS: ENVIRONMENTAL
CONCERNS: ENVIRONMENTAL
Though there are uncertainties as to the precise behavior, law should intervene as
human history witnessed few incidents relating toDDT (wonder chemical> WW II), finally banned by Conv. on Persistent Organic
Pollutants 2011 (S.Holm)
Asbestos [magic fibre, many companies shut down, similarities between asbestos
and CNT]
Tobacco; Nuclear Energy [Fukushima disaster in 2011] ; Genetically modified
food
In all these instances, regulators responded after much damages were
caused.
J. Clarence Davies [co-author of plan to set up US EPA
and Toxic Substance Control Act 1976]“There are a number of existing laws—notably the Toxic
Substances Control Act; the Occupational Safety and
Health Act; the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act; and the
major environmental laws (Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act,
and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act)—that
provide some legal basis for reviewing and regulating NT
materials. However, all of these laws either suffer from
major shortcomings of legal authority, or from a gross lack
of resources, or both. They provide a very weak basis for
identifying and protecting the public from potential risk,
especially as nanotechnologies become more complex in
structure and function and the applications become more
diverse.”
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW AND
NANOTECHNOLOGY
• Provides the framework for municipal legislation.
• Need to incorporate at the municipal level.
• Though one may find general provisions of law touching every component of
the environment [e.g. sustainable development, ensuring pollution free
environmental components, EIA, polluter pay principles, etc.], no specific legal
instrument on nanotechnology.
• Implementation of these legal provisions are genuine challenge for the time
being.
• European countries stress on ‘precautionary principle’.
MUNICIPAL REGULATION OF NANOMATERIALS
Four models availableSelf-regulation: Responsible Care Program (RCP), initiated by the
International Council of Chemical Association, after Union Carbide plant
disaster (Bhopal). Chemical Industries Council of Malaysia is a member. In
USA, RCP was found ineffective.
Code of Conduct for Responsible Nanoscience & NT Research by EC
suggests steps to follow.
Enforced self-regulation: Through govt. call. Voluntary reporting scheme in
USA, AU, UK
Government registration: France, Belgium, Denmark. DoE Malaysia has
been developing on EHS Database.
Command and control regulation: REACH, Cosmetic Directive EU.
WHAT’S GOING ON AROUND
Main tension/concern is the risk and exposure assessment methods & protocols.
OECD has listed 13 representative ENMs.
Europe has introduced specific arrangements on ENMs used in chemicals (REACH),
cosmetic, pesticide and considering specially the ENMs used in food.
Different regulators have issued guidelines, voluntary in nature.
Sector specific [university, laboratory, manufacturing]
Activity specific [handeling, transport, disposal]
Substance specific [CNT, TiO2]
Good Nano Guide is developed by the International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON)
CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
• International movement is mainly based on Europe. UN should step in
immediately in a meaningful way. Regional organization like ASEAN can
also join the race.
• Developing countries can be used as a dumping ground.
• Development of substance and product registers.
• Involvement of stakeholders.
• Implementation of precautionary principles.
PUBLICATIONS
CONFERENCES
LIST OF PUBLICATIONS
Article(s)
1. Md. Ershadul Karim, Abu Bakar Munir, Ahmad Wasif Reza, Firdaus Muhammad-Sukki, Siti Hajar
Mohd Yasin, Siti Hawa Abu-Bakar, Ruzairi Abdul Rahim, "Too Enthusiastic to Care for Safety:
Present Status and Recent Developments of Nanosafety in ASEAN Countries" Technological
Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2014.07.003, 2014 (in press). (ISICited/SCOPUS Cited Publication)
2. Md. Ershadul Karim, Abu Bakar Munir, Nanotechnology in Asia: A Preliminary Assessment of
the Existing Legal Framework, KLRI Journal of Law and Legislation, 2014, 4 (2), 168-223 [Category
A].
3. Md. Ershadul Karim, Abu Bakar Munir, Siti Hajar Mohd Yasin, Firdaus Muhammad-Sukki,
Nanotechnology within the Legal and Regulatory Framework: An Introductory Overview,
Malayan Law Journal, 2014, Vol. 3 [Category B].
4. Md. Ershadul Karim, Abu Bakar bin Munir, Siti Hajar Mohd Yasin, Nanotechnology and
International Law Research Guide, GlobaLex, May 2014 [Category A].
Book Review
1. Md. Ershadul Karim, Book Review on Nanotechnology: Health and Environmental Risks, Journal
of East Asia and International Law, Vol. 5, No. 1 [ISI- Cited Publication].
LIST OF PUBLICATIONS (CONFERENCES)
1. Md. Ershadul Karim, Regulating Nanotechnology: Timely Stitch for Saving Future, International Conference
on Law and Justice, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 24-25 June, 2013 [International].
2. Md. Ershadul Karim, Nanotechnology Safety in Asian Perspective: A Legal Analysis, Asia Pacific Safety
Symposium, Orchard Hotel, Singapore, October 17-18, 2013 [International].
3. Md. Ershadul Karim, Nanotechnology Law and Policy: An Introduction, Kuala Lumpur International Business,
Economics and Law Conference, Hotel Putra, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, December 2-3, 2013
[Local].
4. Md. Ershadul Karim, Abu Bakar bin Munir, Siti Hajar Mohd Yasin, Firdaus Muhammad-Sukki, Asia: No Law for
Nano? 11th Asian Society for International Law Conference, 29 & 30 May, 2014, University of Malaya, Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia [Local].
5. Md. Ershadul Karim, Abu Bakar bin Munir, Siti Hajar Mohd Yasin, Firdaus Muhammad-Sukki, Nanotechnology
through the Lens of Law: Asia and Beyond, Unity in Diversity: Challenges in the New Millennium, 6th
International Conference on Humanities and Social Sciences (ICHiSS), Jointly Organised by National Defence
University of Malaysia and Prince of Songkla University (PSU) of Thailand, Royale Chulan Hotel, Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia, June 6-7, 2014 [Local]
6. Md. Ershadul Karim, Abu Bakar bin Munir, Siti Hajar Mohd Yasin, Firdaus Muhammad-Sukki, Nanotechnology
and Its Legal and Social Implications, 11th International Postgraduate Research Colloquium, 21-23 August 2014,
International Islamic University Malaysia and University Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
• Professor Abu Bakar Munir, my Guru/Maestro for bringing me in Nanoworld.
• Bright Spark Unit of University of Malaya for the financial support.
• Faculty of Law for all kind of academic support and financial support for
attending conference in Sri Lanka.
[email protected]; [email protected]
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