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Industrial Disease Experts Back Report On Nanomaterial ‘Concerns’

EEA Study Calls For Regulation Around Emerging Technologies


A new study calling for businesses, policymakers and politicians to ensure regulations are put in place in relation to emerging industries such as nanotechnology has been welcomed by industrial disease lawyers.

Published by the European Environment Agency (EEA), the Late Lessons From Early Warnings II report has been created to encourage governments, companies and the public to recognise the importance of learning lessons from the past in relation to new areas.

One aspect is how new fields like nanotechnology are governed and regulated, with some research raising concerns that inhalation or exposure to the micro-fibres could have a similar impact on workers as asbestos.

The report calls for shortcomings in legislation, research and risk assessment, and governance in relation to the area to ensure the necessary precautions are taken to keep people safe from potential harm.

Irwin Mitchell’s industrial disease team represent people who have suffered serious illness as a result of exposure to harmful substances and materials at work, including a huge number of people who have developed health problems after coming into contact with asbestos.

Mark Allen, an expert in workplace illness at the firm’s Sheffield office, said: “This European report is a significant step towards bringing long-held concerns in relation to nanomaterials quite firmly into the spotlight.

“A number of studies have raised concerns over the impact that contact with such technology could have on people, yet there remains much to be done to provide more clarity around such findings.

“Further research could be vital to ensuring that the extent or potential dangers of nanomaterials can be understood, with such studies then becoming a starting point in terms of putting proper regulations in place around this area.

“We see every day the huge impact that asbestos exposure has had on people and it is absolutely vital the same terrible mistakes are not made when it comes to emerging and new technologies.”